Good People Doing Good Things … Kids, Cops, and A Company!

His name is Greyson Winfield, he lives in Conway, South Carolina, and he is eight years old.  Y’know, when kids this young do things to help others, I generally give some credit to the parents, as well, for they have most often set an example, encouraged, and helped their kids.  Greyson’s parents are no exception, for they are both former firefighters who dedicated years of their lives to being ‘good people’, helping others.  And they have taught Greyson well.

So, what has Greyson done that qualifies him for top billing in this week’s ‘good people’ post?  Well, for starters he is mowing the lawns of busy single mothers, veterans and first responders in his neighborhood.greyson-mowingAccording to Greyson’s mother, at the start of the pandemic, as she explained the situation to him about businesses closing and people losing their jobs, Greyson was “very upset”, asking her how people would manage to keep their homes and buy food.  Very astute for a kid who’s only in 4th grade!  Greyson wanted to do something more than just mow lawns, so with the help of his parents, he founded a non-profit, Helping Footprint

The Helping Footprint website is in the early stages of development, having only been in operation a couple of months, but one of the major things they do is provide gift cards to those in need for such things as food and other essentials.


Greyson, center, with two people who received gift cards through his organization, Helping Footprint.

In July, two men donated a new lawnmower to help Greyson with those lawns.

Now, Greyson is a huge fan of the late President John F. Kennedy, and says he wants to someday become a Navy SEAL because …

“… helping others is the right thing to do. Also, JFK was in the Navy before becoming president and I want to follow his lead.”

Recently, Greyson and his dad, Greg, were invited to be interviewed on Fox & Friends Weekend, where Greg told a bit more about Greyson …

“It’s pretty amazing. He’s a real special guy. Helping Footprint — that he came up with pretty much on his own. You know, me and mom helped him with it a little bit. But he’s a pretty amazing kid. Greyson, at 4-years-old, was starting to give away toys at Christmas time because the answer we got was ‘well, there are some kids that don’t have a lot like us, Dad. So, we want to be able to help them so they can have Christmas.’ I couldn’t be prouder of him.”

Greyson’s six-year-old brother helps out, too!  Garret wants to someday be a chef, so he puts his skills to use preparing small meals, collecting non-perishables, and creating little snack bags for the children in homes where services are being rendered.garrett

These are two awesome youngsters who I think will grow into awesome adults, but again, I have to give some credit to mom & dad, too, for they have obviously educated and inspired Greyson and Garrett!greyson-2

Police officers these days get slammed in the press, and often deservedly so.  But, just like any group, you cannot judge them all by the actions of some.  So, when I get a chance, I like to highlight police officers who have gone above and beyond the call of duty to be ‘good people’.  This particular incident happened in Saskatoon, Canada, and while it could have ended in a shooting, a death, instead a compassionate officer defused the situation.  Here’s what happened in the words of a fellow officer on the scene …

“A few weeks ago I was travelling home from work in the Duty Officer’s vehicle, which is equipped with an SPS issued radio. I heard a call come in regarding two social workers who were trying to catch an adult male who ran from a personal care home. This male was in his mid-twenties, however functioning at a very low level. The threesome were running westbound through the Shoppers parking lot at the corner of Attridge Drive and McOrmond Drive.

As I approached, I could see the male running west through parking lots, with a social worker following, who looked exhausted and quite shaken. The subject male ran into rush hour traffic on Attridge Drive and I could see that he was obviously confused and in a very dangerous situation. I blocked eastbound traffic, just as a marked police car arrived behind me. What happened next will have left a lasting positive impression on the man, his care provider and has certainly impacted me:

The SPS Constable stepped out of the car and simply extended his hand. The man, who was tiring, ran straight to the Constable and took his hand. The Constable then wrapped his arm around this male and began speaking quietly to him. It was clear this brought an immediate sense of calm to the situation. Together, they sat down on the grass with the Constable still holding him close. When the care provider arrived, the sense of relief was obvious.

This case is a clear display of how every situation dictates our response. The Constable started the interaction with a genuine care and concern for this individual, and that was all that was needed. This story, and countless others like it, are what make me proud to be a member of the Saskatoon Police Service.”

I do not know the Constable’s name, but I know the important thing … that he used just the right weapon:  compassion … instead of a gun … and lives were saved that day.

LowesAnd finally, in these days where the word “corporation” immediately brings to mind corruption and greed, I’d like to give a shout-out to Lowe’s, the home improvement company, who has announced that it will provide an additional $100 million in bonuses to support employees “with unforeseen expenses and hardships” during the coronavirus pandemic.  Said Marvin R. Ellison, Lowe’s president and CEO in a statement …

“No one could have anticipated how long we would be navigating this pandemic together. As we approach the start of another school year, our commitment to support our hard-working associates will continue into August. We are incredibly proud of how our stores, supply chain and corporate associates have faced this pandemic head-on to solve challenges in our communities and care for our customers. We are grateful for their resilience, teamwork and ongoing commitment to safety, and are pleased to share this additional bonus to help with childcare, remote-schooling and other general expenses they are managing during these tough times.”

In addition to the multiple rounds of bonuses, the company had increased pay for full-time, part-time and seasonal associates by $2 per hour for the month of April, around the height of the pandemic. The company continues to offer telemedicine services to all associates and their families, even if they are not enrolled in Lowe’s medical plans. The company will also continue to support communities through grants and PPE product donations, Lowe’s said. To date, Lowe’s has committed more than $100 million in assistance for health care workers, minority-owned small businesses and rural communities.

Now that’s a company that puts people first, a company with a heart.

I hope you’ve enjoyed today’s selection of ‘good people’ … and remember …good people-2

Good People Doing Good Things – Little Kids With BIG Hearts

This is only the second time in the 3+ years I’ve been doing ‘good people’ posts that I’ve repeated one, but tonight I am having some vision issues and really need to give my eyes a break from the computer.  I first posted this in March 2017, so it will be new to many of you.  I think you’ll agree that these kids give us hope for our future …

Children may only be able to do small-scale deeds, but it shows us that though their bodies may be small, their hearts are big. And since these pint-sized do-gooders hold our future in their hands, it is good to see that they already have a sense of caring for others, a sense of humanity.

You are never too young to understand the value of helping others.  Second grader Phoebe Brown was running errands with her mother last week in Independence, Missouri when she came across a winning, $100 scratch-off ticket, just lying on the ground. For a fleeting moment, Phoebe admits, the thought of a spree in the toy department held a certain appeal, but it didn’t take long for her to remember that her school was having a canned food drive that week, and she ended up spending the entire $100 on canned food to donate to those less fortunate.  Her good works even inspired her dad to match every dime she spent!  At the end of the food drive, Phoebe’s class had collected 541 items of food, making them her school’s winner. As a fun reward, Phoebe and her classmates were invited to shave their gym teacher’s beard.


A group of schoolboys in New South Wales, Australia, were about to board a bus and head home after a rugby league game when they noticed an 81-year-old gentleman moving his woodpile from the front of his home to the back, one piece at a time.  Without hesitation, the boys and their dads jumped in and moved every last piece of wood for the man.  A small gesture?  Perhaps, but it is a sign of respect and caring, a sign that these kids are being taught values and compassion.  Hats off to the rugby team at Cooma North Public School!


jaden-sink-3Westboro Baptist Church, best known for its intense hatred of most everything, is located on the East Side of Topeka, Kansas, directly across from Equality House, a resource center established by the non-profit group, Promoting Peace (interesting juxtaposition, don’t you think?).  Equality House and Promoting Peace is a whole story unto itself, but that will have to wait for some other Wednesday, because today’s story is about a six-year-old girl named Jaden Sink. After Jaden’s dad tried to explain to her that Westboro members promote messages of hate, Jayden decided she wanted to raise money toward spreading messages of love and peace. So Jayden opened a lemonade stand … not just any ol’ lemonade stand, but a pink lemonade stand, mind you!  And in the first day of business, she made $1,400!  I think this is proof that love sells better than hate!  By the end of that summer in 2013, Jaden had raised more than $23,000, all of which she donated to the cause of peace.

But Jaden’s story didn’t end there.  The story of Jaden’s pink lemonade stand went viral during that summer of 2013, and other children jumped happily on the bandwagon.  Today, there are some 70 stands worldwide, with all proceeds going toward Equality House’s anti-bullying initiatives.  Says Jaden, “We’re giving [the money] to the rainbow house to help people who are sick, and to help people be nice to each other.”  That’s my kind of kid!


When Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans on August 29, 2005, it made history as one of the five deadliest hurricanes in U.S. history.  Then-10-year-old fifth-grader Talia Leman, seeing images of the destruction on the news, launched a charity urging kids to trick-or-treat for New Orleans, ultimately raising more than $10 million for the Hurricane Katrina foundation. From there, she founded RandomKid, a nonprofit that provides resources for young people who want to make a worldwide impact on any issue. Among the company’s successful efforts are reusable water bottles, which helped fund a water pump for an African village, and a push to provide crutches and artificial limbs to Haitian earthquake victims. Here is an example of a kid who started out doing small things and ended up doing some pretty big things!

Many of these stories are about small acts of kindness, but these children have the right idea, and I would not be surprised to see them make major differences in the world one of these days.  Hats off to the kids, of course, but also to their parents who have obviously taken the time to instill compassion, kindness and caring about others into the hearts of their children.

Good People Doing Good Things … This ‘N That

I hope you’re in the mood for a few ‘good people’ this morning, for it just so happens that I’ve found a few!  Most of what I write for this blog is on the dark side, but we need balance in our diets … our emotional diets as well as our nutritional diets.  Good people serve to remind us that there is hope for a brighter tomorrow.

A win-win

In March, when restaurants in most every state in the U.S. closed down due to the coronavirus pandemic, farmers immediately lost their restaurant contracts and many ended up having to plow their crops under, taking a huge loss for the year.  On the other side of the coin were people who had lost their jobs due to the shutdown and were unable to earn the money to buy food.  But in the State of Washington, there was George Ahearn …

When George Ahearn heard that farmers in Washington state were giving away onions and potatoes they suddenly couldn’t sell, his instinct for goodwill kicked in and George went to work.  Thinking of the food banks in Seattle that were overwhelmed, George asked on Facebook to borrow someone’s truck or trailer for the day, to haul around 2,000 pounds of restaurant-grade onions and potatoes. The response to his altruistic post was dramatic, and soon 4 trucks and 2 trailers had hauled 9.3 tons of crops grown in the east to feed hungry people in the west.

On that first inaugural run, Ahearn learned that food banks originally couldn’t accept a semi-truck load of ‘loose’ potatoes.  Enter Zsofia Pasztor, a farmer and fellow nonprofiteur who began donating crates and boxes for transporting the crops.  As these things tend to do, the movement grew and became a nonprofit organization called EastWest Food Rescue. Ahearn-1One person who donated a truck on that first day, Nancy Balin, is now one of the program’s directors, as is Zsofia Pasztor.  Says Balin …

“The whole thing was extremely organic and took on a life of its own almost immediately.”

Thus far, EastWest Food Rescue has saved over 2.4 million pounds of food from fields and brought it to those who really needed it, while also amassing enough donations to help compensate farmers for their loss.  The goal is to rescue 10 million pounds of food, for which Ahearn is trying to raise $250,000. Ahearn says one of the most important priorities is to get refrigeration capacity for fruit and other produce, as well as for milk and eggs.  Ahearn had originally planned to shut down the operation after they reached 70 tons, so he could spend more time with his family, but that was long ago, and he accepts that in this moment he “can’t stop.”Ahearn-2What a good man … and so many others … yes?

Kind hearts start young

Bike Planet of Memphis donated a bike to celebrate the grand opening of Covington Parks and Recreation Bike Park.  A young boy named Chase was the winner of the bike.  Only one thing, though … Chase already has a bike.

His neighbor and friend Daniel, however, didn’t have a bike, so … you can guess what’s coming, right?  Yep … Chase gave the brand-new bike to Daniel! chase-danielMethinks he’s been taught well!  Good job, Chase!

And then there’s 11-year-old Cartier Carey, a young entrepreneur.  Cartier has a lemonade/snack stand, like so many kids his age, but his is just a little bit different.  You see, rather than trying to earn money for that new toy or a puppy, Cartier is raising money for single moms to buy such things as diapers and other essentials.  So far, he has raised close to $5,000 through the stand and donations and all proceeds go directly to the single moms.


“I wanted to help mothers who were struggling.”

And this isn’t Cartier’s first foray into altruism.  Earlier this year, Cartier created care packages called “Carti packs,” filled with deodorant, soap and tissues to give to the homeless founded his own non-profit organization called Kids 4 Change 757 about a year ago. Cartier says he was motivated to create the movement so he “could help the community and make the community better.”

Chase and Cartier are our reason to hope for a brighter future, my friends!

Welcome to Ontario …

Maurice Ellis, his wife Caroline Leslie-Ellis, and their daughter, Amara, immigrated to Ontario, Canada from Jamaica to create a better life for their family.  Maurice works two jobs to support his family and put his wife through college. Caroline has earned top marks in the hospitality and tourism management program at Fanshawe College, but the expenses are tough for the family to manage.

Shortly after they moved to Ontario, in an effort to become a part of their new community, Maurice joined Dad Club London, a club for fathers and pending fathers, where they can network with other like-minded dads, give and receive help, and become more involved in their community.  One day, Dad Club London founder and president, Jeremy McCall, posted a Black Lives Matter message on the group’s Facebook page that started a conversation, and Maurice admitted that he was the target of a number of racial slurs at his second workplace.

McCall didn’t just commiserate or offer words of sympathy … he leapt into action to show the Ellis family that those who directed racial comments at Maurice were not representative of their community.  He organized a secret fundraiser to show Ellis and his family how much the community supported them.

Contributions came in from the local police union, 70 families, and numerous businesses. The group was able to raise nearly $7,000, and McCall arranged a get-together last month to surprise the family.

First, their daughter Amara was given a gift—the biggest LEGO set the club could find, and then Maurice was given a prepaid Mastercard to help with family living expenses. Finally, smiles turned to disbelief when Caroline unfolded the check for her college tuition.  Said McCall to the gathered ensemble …

“What happened to you doesn’t represent this community. We don’t stand for that. When you said, ‘I guess that’s the way the world is,’ it broke our hearts because it can’t be that way, and we won’t let it … We, together, stand as a community against racism.”

maurice-caroline-ellisNeedless to say, there was no shortage of tears all around.  What good people, yes?


Good People Doing Good Things — Making The World A Little Bit Nicer

Okay, grab your tissues … oh, you’ve run out?  No worries … I always have a spare box … and let’s find some good people to lift our spirits …

box of tissues

Tiny Superhero

Our first good people this week is six-year-old Bridger Walker from Cheyenne, Wyoming.  Bridger and his younger sister were visiting a friend on July 9th, playing in the backyard where there were a couple of dogs.  The friend pointed to one of the dogs and told them that one, a year-old German Shepherd, was mean.  No more were the words out of his mouth than the dog headed straight for Bridger’s sister, fangs bared and ready to attack.

What happened next is what has earned Bridger top billing in this week’s good people post … he stepped in front of his sister, yelled at her to run, and shielded her while the dog attacked him.  And this was the result …bridger-190 stitches later, Bridger is back home and healing, and he has been inundated with well-wishes from celebrities such as Mark Ruffalo, who plays Bruce Banner and The Hulk in the Avengers movies …


He has also received messages of support from such people as actress Anne Hathaway, Hugh Jackman and others.  Anne Hathaway wrote …

“I’m not an Avenger, but I know a superhero when I see one. I can only hope I’m half as brave in my life as you are in yours, Bridger. Wishing you an easeful recovery, and many cool looking rocks.”


When asked by his aunt what made him step in front of his sister and risk his own life, he replied quite simply …

“If someone was going to die, I thought it should be me.”

This kid is already a ‘good people’ in my book, and a superhero to boot!


Thumbs Up to the Amazon Dude …

Carlos Pagan and his wife, Denise, have a sign posted on their door to let visitors know why they cannot answer the door. Pagan was diagnosed with blood cancer in March and is currently undergoing chemotherapy.

They were expecting a package from Amazon, and the driver, Antonio, brought it one day last week, but after reading the note on the door, he turned around and left.  A short time later, he returned, and left this …

antonio-1The note inside the card read …antonio-2And a week later, on a Sunday, Antonio returned again, even though he had no more packages to deliver to Carlos, but merely wanted to check on him and offer words of encouragement.  The two men chatted briefly through the window.antonio-1Antonio told Carlos …

“I want you to know you’re going to be okay and you’re going to be walking soon.”

A small thing, sure, but this is the mark of a good person … one who cares enough to go a little bit out of his way.  And it meant a heck of a lot to Carlos …

“I thanked him and told him it meant a lot to me and he just said he had to do something. For someone that doesn’t even know me, to come to my window and say, ‘In a couple months, you’re going to be okay, you’re going to be up and walking,’ it was just awesome what he did. What he did was absolutely awesome.”

Christmas in July

There is a television station in Savannah, Georgia, WTOC which stands for ‘Welcome To Our Community’, and they live by that motto.  Once a week on the nightly news, they feature a ‘good people’ helping others, helping the community.  Why doesn’t every news station do that?  Anyway, this week’s featured person was about a local farmer, Roy Thompson and his family, who is helping bring good cheer and also good food to the area.

Each year at Christmas the family decorates acres of their farm and welcome people to drive or walk through their winter wonderland, all for the price of a few canned goods for the needy.  Although this is July, it’s hot, and the sun doesn’t set until around 9:00 p.m., the family has strung up much of their annual Christmas light display for people to tour this week.tmt-farmsJust like in the winter, they’re asking visitors to bring canned goods that they’re donating to local food banks.  They know charities have been overrun with requests with many people out of work due to the pandemic.  Says Thompson …

“We actually wanted to do a combination of things. One is the shortage of food at the food banks. The other thing that we started thinking about is giving people someplace to go.”

They thought a drive through the Christmas displays would be a fun distraction for families with so many usual venues and events closed. They turn on the lights at dark – around 9 p.m. in the summer. The Thompsons encourage only one household per vehicle, to reduce any chances of virus exposure and people to stay in the cars and not get out to walk around like they would in December. They’ve collected roughly 2,000 pounds of food so far and will keep the lights burning through Sunday. Their effort to help feed and entertain the community makes them Everyday Heroes.

Thumbs up to the Thompson family, but also to WTOC for sharing good news about good people in their community!

A Hero Critter …

And last, but not least, there is Morocho, the Dogo Argentino, who saved the lives of two young girls.  The girls had climbed a fig tree to pick figs when they saw a puma nearby. They sprinted back to their farm as the puma chased close behind.  Morocho was with them and he fought off the puma as the girls screamed for help. Their father came running and found his beloved dog badly injured and a lifeless puma.morochoOver the next 10 days Morocho was nursed back to health, but he still bears the scars from that day.

Well, there you have it, folks … a lot of good people (and a critter) doing small things that make this world just a little bit nicer place to be.

Good People Doing Good Things —

Okay, folks, it’s Wednesday morning and you know what that means … get your tissues ready …

box of tissues

The right kind of cop …

Police lately have been coming under a lot of fire, much of it warranted.  But, we need to remember that not all cops are racists who would just as soon shoot a black man as not.  There are genuinely good police officers out there, and I just happened to find one who I think you’ll agree, has a good heart.

Brownie Lyons and her husband were driving around Lake City, Florida, one day earlier this month, when they saw Corporal Shane Foote of the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office removing a chair from his cruiser.  On the grass nearby sat a homeless man.  Next, Officer Foote removed a large Chick-Fil-A bag and walked over to the homeless man, unfolded his chair, and sat down while the two shared a meal and conversation.

Ms. Lyons was so touched that she snapped a photo and put it on Facebook for all to see …

I do not know the officer, and personally it doesn’t matter if he’s in law enforcement or not. I wanted to show that there are people who do good things and not always for recognition.”

Officer-Shane-FooteWhat Officer Foote did was a small thing, sure … probably cost him $10 and a half hour of his time … but you know it meant a lot to that homeless man that he took the time to sit down and share a meal with him.

An aside … when Ms. Lyons’ son saw the photo, he realized he had gone to school with Officer Foote and said that was exactly the sort of thing he always did …

“Shane all day everyday!”

Feeding those in need …

In Kandivali, India, Heena Mandavia and her son, Harsh, run a successful delivery kitchen.  Well, that is to say that they did, until the coronavirus took a toll on business.  As they contemplated closing their kitchen earlier this year, their mission suddenly became clear, says Harsh …

“A few months ago one of our regular customers, Abhinav Chaudhary, wished to donate money for feeding 100 people, but he asked me to find the needy people and feed them since he didn’t want to risk going out due to coronavirus risk. So, after doing some research, I found a place outside a Gurudwara where we did the first round of feeding 100 poor people with a full meal consisting of roti, sabzi, dal and rice.”

Heena-HarshHeena and Harsh have been feeding the hungry in their community ever since.  To date, they have served over 5,000 meals to the needy, and the donations just keep coming in …

“It all began when I put up an appreciation post on my social media regarding the first food donation activity. And after that people started donating money online from all over India. In the first two days, we received Rs.11000 and then we started feeding the needy on a daily basis. I kept posting pictures and videos of the food donation drive every week and donations kept pouring in. In 49 days, we reached Rs 3.2 lakhs from five countries.”

Rs 3.2 lakhs is the equivalent of about $4,245, or £3,376.

Certainly, Heena and Harsh are good people, spending their days cooking for those in need, asking nothing in return, but so are all those people who are donating to the cause.

Update on an old good person …

Every now and then, I get an update on a ‘good people’ I’ve previously written about, and this week I came across one such update.  In April 2018, I wrote about Chad Houser, a top chef and restaurant owner in Dallas, Texas, who started a culinary program to train young men who were being released from juvenile facilities.  He started Café Momentum, a non-profit restaurant that provides employment, educational support and career counseling to these young people.  When I wrote the 2018 post, the restaurant was ranked the third best in all of Dallas!  So, let’s see what Chad is up to today …

Due to the pandemic, Houser temporarily closed the restaurant and with the help of his program participants, turned the space into an emergency food distribution center.

“We refocused the mission really, by listening to the community. We received a lot of calls from folks asking for help in specifically feeding food insecure students that were dependent upon school meals for their basic nutritional needs.”

Since March, Houser’s program participants have been putting together boxes filled with food items. They donate the boxes to a local school district that is distributing them to students in need. These efforts also allow Houser and his team to continue assisting the young men and women in their program.

“So much that we focus on as an organization is to provide … a stable and consistent ecosystem of support. It has also continued to provide income for them. When we have millions of people filing for unemployment, it’s one less issue that they have to deal with.  They’re doing a tremendous job stepping up to the plate during this time of crisis. So many of them have gone to the schools that the meals are going to. They’ve lived in the neighborhoods that the meals are going to. And it’s a full circle opportunity for them.”

A round of applause for this man and the young people he is helping to help others!

A critter saves lives …

Fifteen months ago, Jeff LeCates of Franklin, Tennessee, adopted 2-year-old Roux, a Belgian Malinois, from a rescue shelter.  On Saturday night, the 4th of July, Roux woke Jeff with frantic barking, and when Jeff got up to see what was wrong, Roux flew to the front door, continuing to bark incessantly.  Jeff opened the door, and when Roux went flying out, Jeff followed.  To his horror, he saw that his neighbor’s house was on fire!

RouxLeCates immediately pounded on their door, waking the family of three and their pets, who escaped unharmed.  He used a garden hose on the fire until firefighters arrived.  Not surprisingly, Fire Marshall Andy King said fireworks caused the fire.  Hats off to Roux, who most likely saved the lives of that family!

And that’s a wrap for this week, folks, but I’ll be back with more good people next week!  Meanwhile, let’s all be good people this week, even if its something as simple as baking cookies and sharing them with someone who could use cheering.

Good People Doing Good Things — Young, Old, Feline …

I always delight in bringing you good people who are just starting out in life, the young people who see a need and jump in to meet it.  These are the people who will lead us into the future.  Daniel Grant and Max Caponigro are two such young people, both ten years old, and both with hearts of gold.Daniel-MaxThey wanted to do something to help others during the lockdown. Living next door to a food pantry, they boys decided to raise money to help feed the hungry in their community.

“I live next door to the food pantry, so we see it every day. We know people don’t have enough food and we wanted to help.”

So, what did Daniel and Max decide to do to raise money?  They decided to make homemade dog treats and sell them to dog owners, of course!  So, they have spent the last few months mixing flour, butter, bacon bits, chicken stock and other ingredients into the perfect dog treat that they have been selling and delivering to local dog owners.

When the boys first came up with the idea, Max’s mom, Sue Caponigro, put a note in a neighborhood group chat asking if anyone was interested in buying a bag.

“A lot of people have dogs in my neighborhood and almost everybody with a dog bought one.”

Even people without dogs bought the treats and asked the boys to donate them to a local animal shelter (still more good people!).

So far, Daniel and Max have donated more than $400 to Milton Food Pantry.  Not a lot of money, perhaps, but a heck of a lot of heart.  Way to go, Daniel and Max!!!

Sometimes being a good people is as simple as showing appreciation.  And that is just what residents of a Miami Beach neighborhood did last week.  Now, there are few jobs I would find less desirable than being a sanitation worker, or ‘trash man’, especially in this, the era of the coronavirus.  The men and women who collect your trash each week are heroic, for they are exposed to not only the coronavirus, but nearly every germ known to humankind, and some that aren’t.  But, they do their job day in and day out.

Saul Scruggs and Keon Richardson are two of the sanitation workers who pick up the rubbish in Miami Beach, and last week they got a big surprise!  Residents of North Bay road gathered early Friday morning with signs and gifts as they waited for Saul and Keon to arrive …trash-1The neighbors held a celebration of gratitude fit for the essential workers during the coronavirus pandemic. Even Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber was there to celebrate Scruggs and Richardson.  Said residents …

“We’re here to celebrate our two sanitation workers who just really make our day brighter every day when we see them.”

“They do so much more than pick up our trash. What is particularly special about these two men is the positive energy that they bring with them. They always have smiles … If you know them, you love them!”

Mayor Gelber honored Scruggs and Richardson with a special declaration of appreciation.trash-2Again, a small thing, but those two men appreciated it.  Sometimes the simplest things mean so very much.

This story is one of those where one good deed inspired another. Rosario Del Real, known as Don Rosario, is a 70-year-old local paleta (Mexican popsicles, or as my Brit friends know them, ice lollies) vendor who sells throughout the south east side of Chicago.

On Father’s Day last month, while other men were spending the day with their families, Don Rosario was pushing his cart, selling his paletas to earn a living.  A few local dads, including Oscar Gonzalez and Victor Dominguez, were hosting a barbeque and invited Rosario to drop by.  He did, planning to stay only a few minutes, perhaps to sell a few paletas, for there was work to be done.  But he was in for a surprise, for three of the men got together and bought Rosario’s entire stock of paletas so that he could have the rest of the day off to spend with his own family!  Don Rosario was so moved that he broke into tears at the kindness of these men.Don-RosarioNow, that story was heartwarming enough to earn a spot on this post, but it gets even better!

The next day, one of the men, Michaelangelo Mosqueda, posted a video they had recorded on TikTok, where it was quite a hit.  As the video went viral, Mosqueda got an idea.  You see, Don Rosario had been working as a carpenter until an injury put an end to that, which is why he was pushing a paleta cart through the streets of Chicago.  At age 70, that’s not an easy way to make a living!  So, Mosqueda set up a GoFundMe page to see if they could get $10,000 to help Rosario out a bit.  Within days, generous people had donated more than $40,000, and today, three-and-a-half weeks after the start, the fund has $62,567 … enough for Don Rosario to hang up his street cart and retire!

Often, I am not a fan of social media, although I do use both Facebook and Twitter.  But there are times when it can work wonders by spreading news and bringing people together to help someone.  And in so many cases, people will rise to the occasion, as they did here.

On occasion, I like to end the ‘good people’ post with good critters helping others.  For today’s ‘good critter’ portion, I suggest you grab your box of tissues … I needed mine last night when I wrote this.

Now, this actually happened in Brooklyn in 1996, although it was in a recent issue of a website where I get some of my ideas for good people posts.  But it is still a good story.  Scarlett was a cat, mother of five kittens.  On March 30, 1996, Scarlett and her five kittens were in an abandoned garage in Brooklyn when a fire started from undetermined causes.  When firefighters arrived, they noticed Scarlett coming out of the burning building carrying a kitten.  Then she went back in and came out with yet another kitten.  All in all, Scarlett made five trips into the garage and rescued all five kittens!ScarlettOnce the fire was out, firefighters rushed Scarlett and the kittens to the nearest veterinary hospital.  According to firefighter David Giannelli …

“Scarlett herself had been severely burned in the process of pulling her kittens from the fire. Her eyes were blistered shut, her ears and paws burned, and her coat highly singed. The majority of her facial hair had been burnt away. After saving the kittens she was seen to touch each of her kittens with her nose to ensure they were all there and alive, as the blisters on her eyes kept her from being able to see them, and then she collapsed unconscious.”

The weakest of the kittens, the white one in the middle, died of a virus a month after the fire. However, after three months of treatment and recovery, Scarlett and her surviving kittens were well enough to be adopted.

Scarlett’s incredible story inspired the North Shore Animal League to create the “Scarlett Award for Animal Heroism” which are presented to one deserving cat at their annual Lewyt Humane Awards Luncheon.

Just goes to show, there are good people … and critters … in this world.  Don’t let anybody tell you differently!

Good People Doing Good Things — Reaching Out

If it’s Wednesday, then it must be time to set aside the politics for just a few moments and focus on some good people, yes?  Well, it just happens that I’ve found a couple …

Lasagna anyone?

Michelle Brenner went to work at her job in a men’s clothing store in Gig Harbour, Washington, one day in March, only to be told that the store would be closing indefinitely, due to the coronavirus pandemic.  Michelle went home and fixed herself a pan of lasagna … comfort food, y’know.

The next day, she knew she couldn’t just sit home and do nothing to help people, so she volunteered to go grocery shopping for some friends and neighbors.  When she noticed that several had included frozen lasagna on their lists, she was horrified!  FROZEN Lasagna???  Surely not!  Now, Michelle is of Italian descent, and has long used the recipe her grandmother handed down for several of her dishes, including lasagna.  So, she had a thought.

She posted on Facebook to her friends and neighbors that she would be happy to make them fresh, homemade lasagna at no cost … all they had to do was ask.  When Michelle received her $1,200 stimulus check, she spent it on ingredients.  A retired neighbor and unemployed friend were the first to take her up on the generous offer. Before long, many strangers who’d heard about her kindness started stopping by. Three months have passed now, and Michelle is still assembling the layers of love—8 hours a day, seven days a week.Michelle-BrennerShe has made over 1,200 pans of lasagna—no questions asked—for anybody who wants one. She even began dropping them off for essential workers at the local police and fire departments, the hospital, and even the prison.

“The world as we know it is falling apart, but my two little hands are capable of making a difference. I can’t change the world, but I can make lasagna.”

Word spread, and strangers began stepping up to support the unique philanthropy. The Gig Harbor Sportsman’s Club offered the use of their huge clubhouse kitchen.  Said the club’s president, Le Rodenberg …

“We saw what a great thing she was doing, and we have this nice commercial kitchen that wasn’t being used because of COVID. I can tell you that she takes extra care with every one of those lasagnas.”

Michelle-Brenner-2And, as word spread even more, people started donating.

“When word got out on social media, people from all over the world started donating to my cause.”

Thus far, she has received more than $22,000 in donations … enough to keep her making lasagna for a long time!  It’s a little thing, sure, but sometimes it’s the little things that can bring a smile to a person’s face.

Now I’m hungry!

Pandemic of Love

Fort Lauderdale, Florida resident and teacher Shelly Tygielski saw people all around her losing their jobs in mid-March, and she worried about them … not only about their finances, but also their health.  She wanted to do something and sensed an opportunity.

“I wanted to turn from this environment of fear to an opportunity for us to create connection, community and strengthen the bonds of love between us.”

It all started out very simply, when Shelly posted a video on her Instagram on March 14. She announced a new program aimed at connecting those with a need due to loss of income with those who are in a position of privilege and able to be of service. When she went to bed that night, she wasn’t sure how much good her efforts would do. By morning, she had received 400 requests for assistance and 500 offers of help.

“I really just thought this would be a community thing for the South Florida community, for the people who come to our meditation group on Sundays, and that’s it—and that would’ve been enough.”

Her posts and links were then shared by celebrities like Debra Messing, Chelsea Handler and Kristin Bell, and the hashtag #PandemicofLove helped spread the word. Tygielski started receiving thousands of forms from people across the country, and there was an outpouring of volunteers who wanted to help build the organization.

“Within the first 24 hours I received an email offering to start a Pandemic of Love community for San Francisco, and within two to three days I got messages to create communities in Portugal and Barcelona.  And now I get at least 20 emails a day from folks who want to create micro-communities from all over the world. We start by going close and then go further out to find the help. It is about matching the need and filling the need, and the more communities we have the more of these connections we can make.”

One example …

Suzi-Israel-and-sonSuzi Israel in Asheville, North Carolina, filled out a form to get help for her adult son Jacob. He lives in Los Angeles and needed to move temporarily because of Covid-19 cases in his building.

“My son, when he found out I did this, he was very skeptical of people and untrusting. So I told my son to have some faith, and within a day or so he was connected with a donor who gave him some financial support.”

Her son saw further proof of goodwill when his mom started volunteering with Pandemic of Love and helped create the volunteer team for the Asheville community.

People in all corners of the world, inspired by Shelly’s compassion, soon set up similar online exchanges in their own communities under her Love Pandemic banner. In addition to the many groups that sprang up around the U.S., people have been using the Pandemic of Love website to offer assistance in 16 countries so far, including Mexico, Iceland, Chile, and Australia.

Shelly says that the majority of people seeking help want to stock up on food and supplies for the children, and that the average request is about $150. But while the coronavirus pandemic has created a large and visible need, Shelly hopes that the Pandemic of Love project will continue to grow even after the days of coronavirus are over.

Reflecting on what the project has meant to her, Shelly said …

“On a personal level, it shows me that a person can make a difference when you aggregate this act of kindness. You know viruses can be scary things, but the word ‘viral’ does not have to be negative. A lot of positive things can go viral like hope and faith and love. And love can be the cure.”

What started out as a small, local effort has, as of June 4th, raised more than $13 million and has connected 132,000 people with the help they need.  It warms the heart to know how many people are out there who want to help those in need.

Good People Doing Good Things … Young and Not-So-Young

Every Wednesday morning, I bring you examples of the good people who walk among us … young & old, rich & poor, men & women, teens, and even young children.  My goal is to remind you … and me … that the world is basically comprised of people who care about others, people who are far better than the average person we see on the nightly news shows.  And I’m told by readers far and wide that these ‘good people’ posts do give them hope for a brighter future, hope for humanity.  Admittedly, my own hope has dimmed in the past two weeks, as I’ve watched the worst examples of the human species speak the loudest.  But, once I began searching for this week’s good people, a funny thing happened.  My chest stopped hurting, and the corners of my mouth tried to turn upward.  I hope it works as well for you, my friends.

Tammy Rivera is a single mom who supports her family by being an Uber driver in Memphis, Tennessee.  One day not too long ago, Ms. Rivera gave a ride to a nurse who had been working long hours and was simply exhausted.  Tammy was motivated by the dedication of this nurse, and other health care workers on the front lines who are working long hours and risking their own lives on a daily basis, and she wanted to do something to show her appreciation.

After a bit of pondering, she thought one thing she could do is buy and deliver hot meals to frontline health care workers, so that is exactly what she did!  Over the past two months, she has delivered thousands of lunches and dinners to exhausted doctors and nurses at her local hospital—up to 60 meals on some days. She started raising money so she could deliver even more, which resulted in tens of thousands of dollars contributed and 3,500 meals dropped off every day for nearly three months.

Tammy’s good deeds did not go unnoticed, and a local television station picked up the story, as did the New York Post and London’s Daily Mail!

Now, Tammy had an older model car and had been having some car troubles, but since the coronavirus restrictions, business had slowed down and she hadn’t been able to make the needed repairs in addition to all else.

“Kind of like a box of chocolates I never knew what I was going to get when I started the car.”

I can certainly relate to that!!!  On Mother’s Day last month, Tammy was invited to be featured on Jada Pinkett Smith’s web show, Red Table Talk. She was happy to be getting more attention for her cause, but what happened next was more than she could have dreamed of.  The actress and wife of Will Smith wanted to give her a special donation:

“We want to purchase for you an eco-friendly car. A brand new one…for Mother’s Day.”

Needless to say, Tammy was thrilled and plans to keep right on doing what she does for the frontline workers.  Hats off to Tammy Rivera!

I was not familiar with the VING Project  until just a few days ago when they crossed my radar, but I love the concept, love what they are doing!  The project is a national movement that encourages teens to be givers, to help those in need.  Teens between the ages of 14 and 18 are given $1,000, but they must donate it to someone who is in need, outside their own immediate family.

To receive money from the foundation, the youngsters are asked to submit a 2-minute video to the foundation explaining why they want to give money to their nominee. If the videos are accepted by the charity, then the $1,000 check is sent directly to the teen so they can present it to their nominee.  In the month of April alone, the VING Project—which was named after the latter part of the word “giving”—gave away more than $250,000 in checks to teens.

The project was founded by Liz Lefkofsky, the wife of Groupon co-founder Eric Lefkofsky. She told WGN-TV in a recent interview that she launched the charity with the hopes of giving teens their own special philanthropic experience which they will never forget.  And hopefully, it will encourage them to continue in the spirit of helping others!

Kamryn Johnson, age 9, the daughter of former NFL player Ron Johnson, lives in Chanhassen, Minn. — about a 20-minute drive from where George Floyd was killed.  In the wake of George Floyd’s death a couple of weeks ago and the destruction that followed, Kamryn saw some of the aftermath while watching the news with her parents Ron and Shani.

“I was really sad. I wanted to help.”

Kamryn-JohnsonShe chatted with some of her friends and they decided to make bracelets as a way to raise some money for people in need. That was at the beginning of June and it’s grown into something bigger than anyone could’ve ever imagined.  Within about a week-and-a-half, Kamryn and her friends had raised more than $50,000 selling woven yarn bracelets that they make by hand.

I’m going to let Kamryn and her parents tell you her story, as they appeared earlier this month on ABC’s Good Morning America in a segment with Robin Roberts …

And last … I only occasionally feature millionaires or billionaires doing good things because … well, they can afford to … at the end of the day, they are no worse off than they were at the beginning, and it seems somehow less meaningful.  Lately, though, I must admit that there are so many of the ultra-wealthy who do absolutely nothing for humanitarian causes, that when I read about one who did something, I like to give them a shout out.

college-gradThe latest is Netflix co-Founder Reed Hastings and Wife, Patty Quillin who gave a total of $120 million (that’s a lot of dough, folks!) to provide full four-year scholarships for students at black colleges.  They gave $40 million each to Spelman College, Morehouse College, and another $40 million to the United Negro College Fund (UNCF).  Their gift is one that will keep on giving, for education is an investment, not an expense, and who knows what the students who benefit from their gift may go on to contribute to this world.  So yes, these two people get a thumbs up, too!

One Story, LOTS Of Good People

Antonio Gwynn is an 18-year-old high school senior in Buffalo, New York.  Two years ago, Gwynn’s mother died and he was taken in by a friend, Duane Thomas.  On May 29th, Gwynn participated in a peaceful protest against the brutal murder of George Floyd, marching for hours.  Finally, tired, he went home to get some rest and watch videos of some of the nationwide protests.  But, what he saw when he woke the next morning stunned him.

He saw that his hometown’s peaceful streets had turned violent after he left, with a confrontation between protesters and U.S. marshals in front of the federal courthouse, windows smashed at downtown businesses, and protesters reporting that they had been hit by police rubber bullets.

“I was sad to watch all of that. There was a huge mess downtown. I thought, ‘I should go out there and clean it all up.’”

And so, he did.

Gwynn had rented a small U-Haul truck several days earlier to move some of his belongings into a house he had just rented from his aunt. At 2 a.m. on June 1, he threw a broom, a dustpan and two large boxes of garbage bags into the back of the truck and headed to Bailey Avenue, where much of the damage had happened.

Sweeping up broken glass, discarded protest signs and litter for about 17 blocks, Gwynn worked through the morning until almost noon, filling nearly two dozen trash bags, most of which he took home and set on his curb in time for garbage pickup.antonio-gwynn-1What young Antonio didn’t know was that his good deed was about to go viral, thanks to one person in particular, a nearby resident, Nicole Hopkins, who snapped a few pictures, then put them on her Facebook page along with a call to arms.  Nicole wrote …

“I was driving down Bailey on my way to the store after the riots and I observed a young man sweeping up piles of garbage. I took some pictures, looped around, and asked who he was working for. He informed me he rented a truck and was doing this out of the kindness of his own heart.  After speaking with him more in depth, I learned he is 18, a soon to be graduate of Hutch Tech, with aspirations of attending college. If we can pay for his books, a Mac Book, or at least one semester of college for this brave young man, his generosity and kindness will be the change we wish to see in the world.”

Hopkins’s post was quickly picked up by Kimberly LaRussa, whose Sweet Buffalo Facebook page highlights people who do good in the community. From there, it took off running.

Now, in my book Gwynn was a good people in a couple of ways … for peacefully protesting George Floyd’s murder, and then for cleaning up the detritus left at the end of the day, even though it was not his own trash.  But, there are more than one good people in this story!antonio-gwynn-2Gwynn’s voice mail box and Facebook page were suddenly filled with notes from well-wishers in Buffalo and beyond, commending him for cleaning up downtown before anyone else could get to it. And there were generous offers, too.

When one man learned that Gwynn didn’t have a car, he offered up his 2004 Ford Mustang. Another person offered to insure it, and several others set up a GoFundMe account that brought in more than $5,800 to help Gwynn pay some of his expenses while living on his own for the first time. The fundraiser surpassed its goal of $5,000 and is no longer active.  Lots more good people!!!

Probably the biggest surprise, said Gwynn, was a call from Medaille College in Buffalo. When administrators heard on the local news that he hoped one day to start his own auto repair shop and cleaning company, they presented Gwynn with a four-year scholarship so that he could begin business classes this fall.

Gwynn didn’t do this for any sort of reward or acclaim … he did it, as most good people do, because it was the right thing to do.

“It was unbelievable. I didn’t do this for any attention. I just didn’t want people to have to drive through all that trash on the street.”

But wait … I’m not done, for there is at least one more good people in this story.  Two years ago, when Gwynn’s mother died of a heart attack, his younger sister went to live with his grandmother, but Gwynn had nowhere to go.  It was then that Duane Thomas, 37, a pastor and youth leader at the Change Church offered him a home, on two conditions:  he do the dishes, and keep up with his homework.  Mr. Thomas has three children and eight stepchildren, but nonetheless, he said he considers Antonio to be a member of his family …


Duane Thomas (l) with Antonio

“I call him ‘son,’ and he calls me ‘pop,’ I was so proud when I heard he was out there by himself, cleaning up the city. It’s amazing. He just kept on going until he got the job done.”

Duane Thomas … yet another good people in this story!

Gwynn had recently moved out to rent a place from his aunt and brought his sister, Aaliyah, to live with him, said Thomas. He was planning to find a job and go to a trade school this fall, he said, when the offers came pouring in.

Just one simple story, but so many good people in it!  One young person’s desire to do the right thing opened the hearts of so many.

Good People Doing Good Things — Big ‘n Little

This past week, we have seen a heck of a lot of not-so-good people in the news, so it’s time to turn our heads in another direction and look at some of the really good people who are helping others.  I honestly believe that the majority of people in this world are good people who will do whatever they can to help others.  Unfortunately, they don’t get near the attention they deserve.

Contagion among good people …

Remember last week I wrote about Captain Tom Moore, that 100-year-old World War II veteran who raised thousands for the UK’s National Health Service by completing 100 laps in his garden?  Turns out, he inspired a few others around the globe to do something similar.

mickey-nelsonWorld War II veteran Mickey Nelson, 99, is walking 100 miles through his small city of Clarks Grove, Minnesota, to raise money for Covid-19 relief through the Salvation Army’s feeding and emergency programs.

joseph-hammondPrivate Joseph Hammond, 95, has become a familiar sight on the streets of Accra, Ghana, during his daily walks to raise money to support frontline workers and impoverished veterans across Africa.

tobias-wellerAnd Tobias Weller, a 9-year-old boy with cerebral palsy, says he was inspired by Captain Moore to finish a marathon with his walker, one half-mile at a time. Tobias raised $100,000 for the Sheffield Children’s Hospital and Paces School, a school that supports children and adults with neurological conditions in his hometown of Sheffield in northern England.

See … this is the great thing about being a good people … it’s contagious!

Generous youths …

The 8th grade class at the Waldorf School in Santa Fe, New Mexico, had spent the entire year raising $2,800 for their rafting trip. But their trip was canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic.

So, the students chose to make a major impact on the lives of others by using the money to help the Navajo Nation.  In May, the Navajo Nation surpassed New York and New Jersey for the highest per-capita coronavirus infection rate in the US — another sign of the pandemic’s disproportionate impact on minority communities.

Parent Jess Falkenhagen spoke with Navajo leaders to find out what supplies were urgently needed.

The students used their $2,800 fund to purchase diapers, formula, toilet paper, wipes, medicines, soup, potatoes, pasta, beans, rice, pet food and a dozen reusable five gallon jugs filled with water.navajo-donationFalkenhagen drove with her daughters, Daisy and Indie Russell, to Window Rock, Arizona, to make the delivery on behalf of the eighth-grade class.  The student’s teacher was proud of her class …

“I am very proud of my students, but I’m not surprised. This is a very generous and compassionate group of teens. They have been raised to think outside their own immediate lives and it shows in moments like this.”

Young people … the hope for our future.

A good people … no wait … TWO good people

Small ‘mom & pop’ restaurants and their staff all over the country have been hit particularly hard during the shuttering of businesses as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.  Today, I want to tell you a little story about one such restaurant, Bill’s Café in Naples, Florida.

When I first read the headline, “Anonymous donor gives one Naples cafe $40K to stay open”, I thought it sounded like a nice story to add to my ‘good people’ post this week, but I didn’t know the whole story.  Let’s start with the present.  Says Bill Salley, owner of Bill’s Café …

“The last day I was open before they forced us to close because of the COVID situation he [the anonymous customer] goes ‘Bill I’d like to talk to you’. He says listen I have two envelopes for you … one for you, one for your help.  And It was so nice and kind of him…. but that probably wouldn’t have saved me…it was a nice chunk of money in that but not enough to make a difference.

A week later he calls me up and tells me, ‘Bill, would you be interested in sending a hundred sandwiches a day across the street to Naples community hospital’ and before he even finished, I said ‘I’m in!'”

The customer paid full price for the sandwiches, five days a week for eight straight weeks, so that the hospital employees would get them for free.

“It literally saved my café.  It was so nice and kind of him.”

And that made for a nice story of a good person helping not only Bill keep his café, but providing food to hospital staff for free!  Good enough, right?  But, as is my habit, I double check the information I use for these stories, mostly to make sure they are on the up-and-up and that I have the facts right. So, when I ran the name Bill Salley, I found something else!

bill-salley-1An article in the May 12, 2016, Naples Daily News tells of a woman known only as Sue, who goes to Bill’s Café every morning, has a nice breakfast, and walks out without paying.  Sue, you see, is homeless and Bill never turns away a homeless person.

“I’ve done it everywhere I’ve worked. I can’t let anyone go hungry.”

When a local posted about Salley’s generosity on Facebook, it went viral, but Salley was surprised.

bill-salley-2“I have always believed that we live in a world that is better now than ever and that there are more good people than bad. I know that I am not special, that there are many individuals who daily show acts of kindness to others. They do it not for recognition or attention but because it’s the right thing, the humane thing and a good thing to do.”

Seems to me that the helping hand Bill got from his anonymous customer was more than deserved!

And there you have it, friends.  Proof positive once again that there are good people in this world, doing what they can to help others with no expectation of a reward.  It’s these people who remind me that despite the horrors of the day, there is still hope for humanity.