Good Wednesday morning, friends! You know what I love most about Wednesdays? I get to go in search of good people to write about. Well, technically I do this post on Tuesday night, but still … it’s such a relief after writing about the … er … not-so-good people that I mostly write about during the week. This week’s batch of good people is exceptional, I think.
Pay it forward … or backward
I absolutely love the ‘pay it forward’ concept that has played out in big and small ways over the past decade or so. A couple of weeks ago in Brainerd, Minnesota, one man started a pay-it-forward movement that lasted nearly three days!
It was at the Dairy Queen on December 3rd, that a man at the drive-thru told the cashier he would like to pay for the order of the car behind him. The store manager, Tina Jensen, was so excited that she personally delivered the good news to the woman in the second car. The woman was stunned, and when Ms. Jensen asked if she would like to keep the chain going and pay for the car behind her, she readily agreed.
And so it went, throughout the day. Jensen says, “One lady, she was so excited, she threw us a 20 dollar bill almost in tears. ‘Are you serious. This is really going on?’ I said, yep, you are about 125 cars into it. She said, ‘For real, can you believe this?’”
The longest chain this drive-through ever experienced was 15 to 20 cars, but I think this year, with the pandemic raging, people confined to their homes, and the Christmas season upon us in a fashion different from any we’ve ever known, people’s hearts are maybe just a little bit bigger right now.
Tina posted about it on Facebook, and people started driving to the restaurant just so they could participate—all day Friday, and most of Saturday, they kept coming, and paying the tab for the person next in line. The record ended up at over 900 cars, with $10,000 in sales from selfless customers who passed up the opportunity to take a free meal for themselves. Folks … THIS is what humanity is about … a small thing, sure. But dammit … it’s a big thing, too! Here … have a tissue
A few good cops
The police get a bad rap sometimes, and over the past several years, some police have certainly earned that bad rap. But we mustn’t paint all police officers with a broad brush, for some have hearts of gold. Such was the case in Orlando, Florida last week, when police officers surprised over 200 children in need with Christmas presents on Saturday.
The Orlando Police Department collected the names of children in need from local churches, counselors and community centers to bring smiles to kids’ faces this Christmas. The department’s officers and staff donated the money to buy the toys and personally delivered the gifts to the children at their homes. Officer Marcus Hyatt said the gift-giving helps to build trust with the community and “close the gap because so often law enforcement is portrayed a certain way.”
“When I opened up gifts on Christmas day, it just brought so much excitement for me. I waited all year for it, so to see another kid have that expression, it just means the world to me. People need to know us, they need to trust us. Part of bridging that gap is being more visible in the community. Showing people we’re human, showing people we care. People don’t get a chance to see us handing out gifts, us having positive conversations with people. People don’t get a chance to see that we are human just like them.”
Thumbs up to the officers who participated in this toy drive … thank you, Officers!
A return ‘good people’
Nearly a year ago, my good people post of January 1st, included a piece about a man named Michael Esmond. You probably don’t remember, but last year around this time, Michael, a 73-year-old veteran and owner of a pool installation company in Gulf Breeze, Florida, paid the past due utility bills for 36 families in Gulf Breeze, spending a total of $4,558. Some of those families would have lost their electricity had it not been for Michael Esmond, so although $4,558 may not seem like a lot, it may have been a lifesaver to some.
This year, Michael is back on my radar. With the pandemic and related restrictions, many have lost their jobs and are struggling to pay their bills, and in September, Hurricane Sally hit the area, causing damage to homes and businesses. Once again, Michael Esmond stepped up to the plate … it cost him a bit more this year, but because of him, 114 families can rest a bit easier, knowing their gas and electricity bills are paid.
Last year, Esmond paid the utility bills of 36 households in his community, this year it was 114, to the tune of $7,615.40.
“This year to me probably is more meaningful than last year with the pandemic and all the people out of work having to stay home. Hurricane Sally slammed us pretty good and hurt a lot of people. We still have a lot of the blue roofs here, where they’re just covered with tarps. I have been down on my luck like people are today, where I had trouble paying bills and raising three daughters. The gas company shut the gas off and we didn’t have any heat. That’s probably one of the biggest motivators for me, because I’ve been there.”
Thumbs up to Michael Esmond … a good people working hard and sharing the fruits of his labour.
Good Critters — These three lions
Every now and then, I add a piece about animals doing good deeds, whether toward their fellow critters or humans. This story from 2005 is not new, but it just came to my attention this week and I thought this was maybe the best animal story I’ve heard all year, so I’m sharing it.
In 2005, in Ethiopia, a group of men kidnapped a 12-year-old girl in order to marry her forcibly to a member of their community. A week later, the girl was found in the jungle under the protection of three lions. It turned out that when the lions saw the men beating the girl, they kicked away the intruders and guarded her. When the police found the little girl, the lions retreated. However, they went back to the jungle only when the girl safely returned home.
In her testimony, she said that lions protected her until the police came. Take a lesson from these three lions, hoomans!