Last week, I took a hiatus from my usual Wednesday ‘good people’ posts, but I’m back this week with an all-new batch of really good people doing more than their share to make life a little better for someone.
The doctor’s Christmas gift …
I’d like to introduce you to Dr. Omar T. Atiq. Originally from Pakistan, after completing his fellowship at New York City’s Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, Dr. Atiq accepted a job offer in Arkansas.
In 1991, Dr. Atiq founded the Arkansas Cancer Clinic in the community of Pine Bluff to make comprehensive cancer care available for the economically disadvantaged. Prior to its opening, Pine Bluff cancer patients traveled at least 50 miles for treatment. Dr. Atiq is clear that his patients’ needs were always his top concern—not their ability to pay.
“One principle I have always followed is, I am here to see patients. For somebody to trust their lives in my hands is the highest privilege and honor I can get. We never refused any patient for any reason.”
Earlier this year, Dr. Atiq and his wife were preparing to close the clinic, as he transitions to his new role as full-time professor of Head and Neck Surgery at the Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute. They were closely reviewing the clinic’s financial state, and what they found was astounding … some of the patients had bills in the tens of thousands, and were making monthly payments of only $5 or $10. He realized that many of the folks he’d treated didn’t have the means to pay—especially with so much added financial hardship brought on by the coronavirus pandemic
“They wanted to pay but they couldn’t.”
The total owed to Dr. Atiq by his patients was more than $650,000, and he and his wife decided to forgive his patients’ debts in time for the Christmas Holiday. Each of his patients who owed him money received this card …
“We are blessed that we didn’t need the money, so we decided to just cancel and forgo the debt—and we did.”
Dr. Atiq is, in my book, a very good people!
The year 2020 will live forever in the history books, due to the pandemic that has killed nearly two million people around the world, and thus far has seen over 92 million cases. Needless to say, the pandemic has caused financial hardship for many in every nation on the planet. In the city of Edmonton, Canada, people woke on Christmas morning to a nice surprise …
A Santa who chooses to remain nameless left envelopes containing an inspirational rhyme along with $250 gift-cards on approximately 400 doorsteps, for a total of $100,000! I do hope this Santa doesn’t have his heart set on a Poet Laureate award, however!
The only clue to the selfless Santa’s identity was an email address at the bottom of the notes. CBC News did reach out, but the cagey old elf preferred not reveal his or her identity. The anonymous do-gooder did, however, email the network to share his/her reason for the generous act:
“I decided to do it because I know that lots of people have had a really tough year and I had the means to help out. I hope the gifts gave people a sense that the world is good and there is a brighter future not far ahead.”
One good deed leads to another
Evelyn Topper and her granddaughter, Mikayla Gounard, had been to a local coffee shop in their hometown of San Rafael, California, and it wasn’t until they returned to Evelyn’s house that she realized she no longer had her wallet. Needless to say, with credit cards and medical cards in the wallet, Ms. Topper was upset! But …
The next day, a homeless man named Sean Curry phoned Evelyn and told her that he had found her wallet in a dumpster behind the coffee shop. He made arrangements to bring her wallet to her, and Evelyn thanked him profusely. Sean, however, didn’t think it was a big deal, saying he did it because he “has a heart”, and because “that’s the way I was brought up”.
Now, Evelyn’s granddaughter Mikayla had a birthday coming up, and she had planned a “socially distanced drive-by party”, whatever the heck that is! She had asked invitees to donate to a charity in her name, rather than bring presents, though she had not yet decided on which charity.
On the day of her party, the newly-minted 12-year-old placed a photo of Curry and a collection basket next to balloons and party favors on an outdoor table in her driveway. By the end of her “Happy Birthday!” processional, she’d raised several hundred dollars. The next day, Mikayla and her mom met Mr. Curry and gave him the money, explaining what Mikayla had done. This was the result …
Says Mikayla …
“I think it’s really important that people who think that because you got pushed down you can never get back up again.”
An exec with a big heart
Ramu Dosapati lives in the Hyderabad region of India where in 2020, hardships brought on by heavy flooding and compounded by the added limitations of the pandemic lockdown left many migrant workers stranded without means of support. Now, Mr. Dosapati is a corporate Human Resources executive, but that doesn’t stop him from doing what he can to to ensure the area’s struggling workers won’t go without food and other essential items.
Mr. Dosapati has spent ₹50 lakh of his own funds (close to $61,000) to establish and run a ‘Rice ATM’, doling out rice and other necessities 24 hours a day, seven days a week to those in need.
His first step along the road to altruism began simply enough, but he had no way of knowing then just how far his journey would take him, and the amount of good he would do along the way. Dosapati had gone to the store to pick up the makings for his son’s birthday dinner. While at the shop, he noticed a woman buying an enormous quantity of chicken—close to $2,500 dollars’ worth, in fact. Intrigued, he couldn’t help but ask her purpose in buying so much poultry. As it turned out, the woman, a security guard who works at a camp for migrant workers, was buying it as a special treat for residents there who’d run out of food.
“When I asked her about her salary, she said it was ₹6,000. That made me think that if a lady with ₹6,000 salary can spend ₹2,000 on the needy, why can’t I do the same?”
Dosapati accompanied the security guard to the camp, where he made a list of close to 200 people in need of assistance. He quickly realized, however, the initial investment he’d allotted would only last a few days. Undaunted, Dosapati cashed in his retirement fund, and working with a local merchant, opened the Rice ATM food pantry. But Dospati wasn’t finished.
While he’d been working toward moving his family into a larger home and had already sold a parcel of ancestral land to secure funding, when Dosapati learned yet another new group of workers had arrived seeking aid, with the blessings of his family, he put those dreams on hold.
“That’s when my wife supported me and asked me to go ahead and carry on with the initiative.”
Since the Rice ATM launched last April, word of Dosapati’s generosity has made the rounds. With support from a number of outside sources now pouring in, the man who has truly put the “human” in human resources says he hopes to keep resources flowing for those in need for a long time to come.
Well, there you have it folks … lots of good people, young and old, from all walks of life, doing their bit for humanity. We can all do just a bit to help someone else, if we only open our eyes and our hearts.