I want to start this week’s ‘good people’ with a follow-up to one of last week’s stories. You may remember the woman who was at the McDonald’s drive-thru with a cranky child in the car and suddenly realized she had left her purse with her money at home. The young man working the drive-thru did not hesitate but used his own bank card to pay for her order. Last week, that young man, Wyatt Jones, was the ‘good people’, and in this week’s follow-up, the woman, Brittany Reed, is also a good people, as well as many others.
Ms. Reed was so grateful to young Wyatt, but he wouldn’t accept any extra money from her. So, she managed to contact his mother, who told her that Wyatt was working to save money to buy a car. Ms. Reed jumped into action and started a GoFundMe page with a goal of raising $5,000 to help Wyatt buy a car.
My jaw dropped when I visited the page and found that nearly two thousand people had donated to the fund for a total of $34,820!!!Ms. Reed is certainly a good people for wanting to do something kind for Wyatt who had helped her in a time of need, but so are each and every one of those 1,900 people who have donated, some as little as $10, others $100. I don’t know about you, but it warms my heart to know that so many people do still care about others and want to help out. Lots of thumbs up in this one!
A good cop
We hear a lot about the bad apples in law enforcement these days, and it’s enough to make us lose faith in those who we are supposed to trust to serve and protect us. But they aren’t all bad … there are an awful lot of police officers who are doing their best to be members of the community, to protect and instill trust. So, when I get the chance, I like to shine a light on those officers who have gone the extra mile to do something good. Today’s shining example of a genuinely good cop is Officer Arthur Parker of Plano, Texas. Officer Parker retired earlier this year, but he is missed by one and all at Clark High School. Affectionately known as O.P., he had served for 34 years with the Plano Police Department, 27 of which were spent as a School Resource Officer. When on duty directing traffic outside the school, his dance moves earned him fame. Said Parker …
“I had a patrol call and say someone called and said there’s an officer drunk in the street. They got a real call!”
Says the school’s principal, Janice Williams …
“My first impression was ‘oh my gosh, this is gonna be the person that’s gonna be protecting us’ because he did his normal goofy OP (Officer Parker) thing and went into some kind of character, and he’s kept me laughing ever since.”
To keep students motivated, Parker even taught himself a tune on the harmonica for every situation. For a history lesson, he plays Taps. When he’s trying to get kids to move along, he said “Play ‘Star Wars,’ ‘Luke, I am your father, go to class.’” To the teens at Clark High, he’s a confidant and confidence booster.
According to the students …
“OP, he really tries to find that connection.”
“He’s mostly just taught me how to be confident no matter what.”
“When it’s fun. he’s always fun, when things get real, he’s strict.”
Officer Parker may be retiring from the Plano Police Department, but he’s not leaving the students, for even in retirement he plans to use his unique style of humor and dancing to win over students.
“People are saying, hey it’s time to relax. No, it’s not! I’ve got energy. Relax? Please! If I go to school and volunteer, I have to be there enough times to say, ‘hey, we know who he is! That’s O.P. Old person. Not Officer Parker any longer.’”
Now, Officer Parker didn’t rescue people from burning houses, didn’t donate his life savings to someone in need, so you might be asking yourself why I feature him in this week’s ‘good people’ post. Well, folks, good people are carers, givers. Officer Arthur Parker cares about people, particularly those young people at Plano High School, and he gave … continues to give … of the most precious thing any of us have: himself and his time. It’s easy enough to write a check, or donate online to a worthy cause, and I’m not knocking that … not at all! But, the most beautiful gift, I think, is the gift of self, of selflessly giving your time to someone who needs it.
We will never know how much of a difference OP made in the lives of some of those students, but I’m betting that to some, he was literally a lifesaver.
And a couple of short ones from CNN’s ‘Good Stuff’ newsletter …
Love’s labors found
Tim Gjoraas, a 45-year-old teacher from Sioux Falls, South Dakota, knew he may not have long to live. After battling colon cancer for several years, doctors told him it was terminal. So, Gjoraas (first row, black shirt above) decided it was finally time to repaint the outside of his house. It was something his wife had always wanted, and if ever there was a time for fulfilling wishes, it would be now. Originally, he had asked a friend to take care of the task for him next year, with the understanding that Gjoraas, sadly, may not be around to see it through. However, word got out to his community, and more than a dozen people showed up to get the job done while Gjoraas could still enjoy it. They drank craft beers, told stories, and within half a day the house was a beautiful new shade of blue. It’s just one way, Gjoraas says, that his friends and neighbors have stepped up during this difficult time. “My community has really gone to bat for my family and I over and over and over,” he said.
California firefighter Grant Newnom …
… who drove straight from a 60-hour shift with the San Jose Fire Department to help save his girlfriend’s parents’ home from an approaching wildfire. Elise Jones, his girlfriend, was having dinner with her parents at their home in Santa Rosa when they were ordered to evacuate. When Newnom arrived on the scene, he started moving woodpiles, debris and other flammable materials away from the house and used his chainsaw to cut down nearby trees to protect the home.As he was leaving, a Santa Rosa fire truck drove up. Because of its location, the Santa Rosa fire captain decided that’s where firefighters would make their fight against the impending blaze. Though the rest of the area was sadly not as lucky, the house was saved.
Critters is good people too …
I don’t know who wrote this or what the circumstances were, but it touched my heart.
“Ham saved my life yesterday. He hurt his paw but I’m alive because of his bravery.
I was working on my house where I fell and was critically injured. He ran to me and started howling and crying; he tried to drag me and ripped his foot open. Luckily he got my neighbors attention. I should be dead, but he saved me.Thank you, Ham. You are my best friend.”
See, friends, you don’t have to be rich or have vast resources to be a good people … all you have to do is care enough to give the gift of self, to give up an hour or two of your valuable time to help someone. I bet if we all try, we can be good people this week … what do you say?