Welcome to today’s episode of ‘good people’. It almost didn’t happen. I awoke on Tuesday in such a black humour that the better part of the day was spent cursing and in a temper. I decided to skip good people, to tender my apologies, but then here came Jolly, saying …
“No, gwammie, you can’t do dat. Our fwiends look forward to da good people all week … you can’t let our fwiends down. Dey are sad, too, but da good people makes dem smile and den dey feel better. Don’t let our fwiends down, gwammie … I’ll help you!”
And there was such a sad look on that cute face that I worked hard to set aside my angst and go in search of … good people, with the help of dear Jolly. (I really must work with Jolly on grammar lessons, though!)
A hero without a cape
Justin Gavin, age 18, was on a walk to a local Walgreens in Connecticut last Wednesday when a car drove past him. The car was afire and all he could see was a little girl looking out the car window.
“I’m yelling stop the car! Your car is on fire! Your car is on fire!”
But the mother couldn’t stop. That’s when, Gavin, without thinking, fell into action. He chased down the burning car to help the family escape, finally reaching the vehicle as it came to a stop. He opened the car door and helped the mother out of the driver’s seat first, officials said. As the flames grew larger, he pulled the three children in the back seat to safety, including a 4, 9, and 1-year-old, who was in a car seat.
“I just felt like if I was in that situation, I would want somebody to help me out,” Gavin said. “I guess my instincts took over. It kind of got scary because I didn’t know whether I was going to be able to get everyone out in time. And luckily, I did.”
The police department honored Gavin as a hero. Police Chief Fernando Spagnolo awarded the teenager with a “challenge coin” to acknowledge his courageous act. Gavin smiled big as the chief shook his hand and offered him the token of appreciation.
What started out small …
(Warning: you may need your tissues for this one)
Gloria Scott of Woburn, Massachusetts, is 72 years old and lives on a fixed income, as do many of us seniors. Most often when something needs repair, she makes do, not being able to afford expensive home repairs, but when her overhead light went out and sparks started flying, she had no choice but to call someone to fix it. So, she called an electrician, John Kinney, to repair the fixture.
Little did the 72-year-old know, she wasn’t just getting an electrician, she was getting a knight in shining armor as well, for John Kinney is a good people.John repaired the ceiling fixture on a Friday, but the following weekend the state of Ms. Scott’s house weighed heavily on his mind …
“No lights, running water… I saw her on a Friday and it stuck with me over the weekend… I said, ‘I got to go back there.’”
The next week, he went back and started working on some of the other repairs … free of charge. But he soon realized that more help was needed, so he started a Facebook page titled “Nice old lady needs help” where he called on other tradespeople to join him …
“Last week, I met a nice old woman that lives all alone in Woburn. She has no internet or cell phone. When sparks started shooting out of her light fixture, she went to a neighbor, and they gave her my number. When I arrived at her house I discovered that the electrical was in very bad shape. Half her lights were out, she had no stove, and her refrigerator was plugged into an extension cord. I fixed her immediate electrical hazards and got her lights and air conditioning on. When all the lights came on, I saw that her ceilings were falling apart, her kitchen sink was broken, and that the place was filthy. She told me that critters often got in the house. The outside was no better. Gutters were falling down and it was surrounded by a jungle. She has no family, and money is tight.”
John Kinney might have expected a few tradespeople – plumbers, carpenters, electricians – to volunteer to help out, but what he got was a whole town! That’s right … the whole town of Woburn is pitching in! People without specific trade skills are showing up with shovels and rakes, sending gift baskets and purchasing meals for the volunteers.They’ve been at it about a month now, putting in all new electrical, all new plumbing, new windows and walls and ceilings. Almost everything is getting replaced, from the back-yard lawn to the front porch steps. Gloria Scott is, needless to say, grateful! Both she and Kinney are still speechless …
“I can’t even comprehend the gratitude that I have,” Gloria said.
“It’s just — there’s no words for it, you know,” John said.
But wait! The story doesn’t even end there! Kinney has since launched a Facebook group named “Gloria’s Gladiators”. It consists of professional tradesmen and volunteers that can be called upon to help out any elderly person in need. He said he would like to see chapters of Gloria’s Gladiators across the country helping seniors in similar circumstances. From the comments I saw on the Facebook page, the idea is catching on in other cities around the country! Hats off to John Kinney and all those who helped him help Gloria!
A re-evaluation of life feeds the homeless
Kerry Wiles was diagnosed two years ago with breast cancer, underwent a double mastectomy and reconstructive surgery. How did it change her life? She says she ‘re-evaluated’ her life and decided she wanted to do something to help others. Now, Kerry works full-time as a scientist at the Cooperative Human Tissue Network at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, but on weekends, she is now a ride-share driver for both Lyft and Uber, and her fares & tips are spent buying food and fixing lunches for the homeless community in her hometown of Nashville, Tennessee.
As she drives people around the city, on Saturdays and Sundays she’s able to drop off homemade PB&Js to around 100 homeless people. A few weeks ago, one of her riders, 24-year-old Ryan Caldwell, was fascinated by what Kerry was doing and wanted to help! The two just hit it off, and now Ryan helps Kerry and together they deliver turkey rolls and PB&Js to an ever-growing homeless community. Take a look at what they have to say …
The two-person team are currently putting together a list of shoe sizes for the local homeless community so they can get them boots for winter. Amazing people!
Today’s good people prove that not everyone is driven by greed and profit … some people just genuinely like to help others! As Jolly said, Da good people made me smile, and I hope they made you smile, too.