Good People Doing Good Things — Helpers In These Trying Times

We’ve heard a lot in the past few weeks about human swine who are hoarding large amounts of commodities such as toilet paper, disinfecting wipes, hand sanitizer, and even foodstuffs such as chicken, fresh fruits & veggies, etc.  And then there are the scammers … people who are finding unique ways to profit from other people’s troubles.  But today I want to focus on people who are finding ways to be good people in the midst of the pandemic crisis.


A tip that will be remembered …

On Sunday afternoon, the governor of Ohio announced that all restaurants and bars would close at 9:00 p.m. and remain closed indefinitely … another casualty of the pandemic coronavirus.  We were eating at TGI Fridays when the announcement was made, and our server broke into tears.  I was chuffed to see that a few minutes later, the family dining across the aisle from us gave her a $100 tip … she broke into tears again.  We gave her a $50 tip … and she broke into tears yet again!  But none of that compares to what a diner in Columbus, Ohio, did.

An anonymous man dining at The Coaches Bar and Grill in Columbus, received his bill shortly after the governor’s announcement … the bill totaled $29.75.  To that check, he added a gratuity of … $2,500!  On the check, he wrote a note requesting that the tip be split equally among the five servers who were working that night. tipNeedless to say, the tears were flowing in The Coaches on Sunday night.  Thumbs up to that anonymous man!


Helping the neighbors …

Becky Hoeffler lives in Durham, North Carolina and works for Duke University.  These days, she’s working from home, and when she spoke by phone with her grandfather in New Jersey, she was concerned when he mentioned that he was going out grocery shopping.  She wished she could do it for him to lessen his risk, but obviously she couldn’t.  However, it gave her the idea to make grocery runs for her senior neighbors, in lieu of helping her grandpa.

She started with her next-door neighbor, an elderly lady who only asked her to pick up paper towels, fresh fruit, and flour.  The neighbor then returned the favour in the form of fresh-baked banana bread!

Next, she walked down to the housing community for senior living at the end of her cul-de-sac. She talked to people on their porches and introduced herself—and the offer of kindness.

“They told me I could post the sign with my information near the mailbox station, so all members of the community would be able to see it!”

Becky-HoefflerBecky has posted on a local Facebook group to try to get the word out and to see if anyone needs help.

“In these situations, when the community steps up, you really lessen the pressure on first responders and medical personnel,” she said in an email. “If you’re able to decrease, even by a little bit, the number of patients that have to seek care because they’ve been exposed to something, it’s good for the community as a whole.”

Thumbs up to Becky Hoeffler for caring about her senior neighbors!


Chef Andrés is at it again …

I have written before about Chef José Andrés before.  He and his charity have been praised time and again for helping feed those in need during hurricanes, fires and other disasters.  This time, he is turning his 5-star restaurants into food kitchens for families who may be having trouble making ends meet during the coronavirus pandemic.

The makeshift soup kitchens will begin serving takeout meals starting today between noon and 5:00 p.m. Furthermore, all of his employees will be getting paid time off for the first two weeks.

chef-andresAndrés’s charity, World Central Kitchen, has also been serving up meals to people affected by the coronavirus, including the quarantined cruise ship passengers and staffers aboard the Grand Princess.  And from Little Rock, Arkansas to San Francisco, the charity has already served up several thousand meals to students and families amidst school closures.


Caremongering in Canada

The first “caremongering” group was set up by Mita Hans with the help of Valentina Harper and others. Valentina explained the meaning behind the name.

“Scaremongering is a big problem. We wanted to switch that around and get people to connect on a positive level, to connect with each other. It’s spread the opposite of panic in people, brought out community and camaraderie, and allowed us to tackle the needs of those who are at-risk all the time – now more than ever.”

Valentina said the rapid growth of the trend was far beyond her expectations, with the Toronto group itself now having more than 9,000 members.

“We thought we’d have a couple dozen people. It’s grown to thousands. But the most positive thing is the local groups that have started, geared to specific neighbourhoods. It’s really shown us the need that people have to have some level of reassurance and hope.  Anxiety, isolation and lack of hope affects you. In providing this virtual community which allows people to help each other, I think it is really showing people there is still hope for humanity. We haven’t lost our hope.”

But they do more than just offer moral support or a kind voice to break up the loneliness.  These include a single mother in Ottawa receiving food for her baby, a group of people in Toronto offering to cook meals for those who are unable, and a community in Prince Edward Island who gave grocery store gift cards to a woman who was laid off because of closures related to coronavirus.

One of the most popular acts is to go to the supermarket for those who are unable – though depending on luck this can prove to be an act of extreme patience as one Hamilton woman discovered when going to a Walmart at 5:30 am on Saturday – the queue was a long one.

These people aren’t rich, don’t have a lot to give, but they are giving of themselves to help others in small ways.  Thumbs up to them all.


In memory of …

The family of 88-year-old Darrell Blakeley, who died at North Manchester General Hospital on Friday after testing positive for coronavirus, have asked people to carry out acts of kindness in his memory.

Darrell-Blakeley“We invite you to forget flowers and cards. Instead we would like you to give acts of kindness. Help someone who is lonely or struggling during this time, who needs shopping, childcare or a chat. Post tiny acts of kindness given and received and share. Build something beautiful in Darrell’s memory.”


These are just a few examples of the many, many people who, instead of seeing this crisis as an opportunity to make a buck at someone’s expense, are seeing it as an opportunity to do something good for others.  I think we can all find some things to do to help people out in these trying times, don’t you?

Good People Doing Good Things — Too Many To Count

Hooray for Wednesdays!  It is such a breath of fresh air to shine a light on people who care about others, who are giving of themselves, even in the smallest of ways, to somehow make life better for somebody.


California is on fire …

You’ve all seen on television or the internet the terrible devastation caused by this year’s wildfires in California.  The fires extend from the northern to the southern border, and some 9.000 firefighters are working day and night to contain the fires.  Typically, when disaster strikes, good people jump into action, and today I would like to share with you a few people who are helping.  First of all, though, I want to give a shout out to those 9,000 firefighters.  They are working in horrid conditions, with very little sleep, risking their own lives to help save lives, property, forests … these guys are HEROES! TOPSHOT-US-WILDFIRES-CALIFORNIA-WILDFIRE

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I had never heard the name John Cena until last night (yeah, I’m sure you are all rolling your eyes … I’ve told you, I am a pop culture throwback!), but it’s a name I’m not likely to forget anytime soon.  Turns out Mr. Cena is a former wrestler-turned-actor, who has a new movie coming out day after tomorrow in which he plays … a firefighter!   Mr. Cena put out a very touching video on Twitter, announcing that he is donating $500,000 to the California first responders.  But, he didn’t stop there … he called on Paramount Pictures to match his donation, which they did.

Other celebrities who have donated to the cause include Chris Pratt, LeBron James, and others. You all know how I generally feel about celebrities, millionaires and such, but when they open their hearts and wallets to those in need, I give credit where credit is due.

Last year, I wrote a post about heroic efforts large and small during the California wildfires of 2018 (I do hope this won’t become an annual feature!), and one part of that post featured celebrity chef José Andrés and his wonderful organization World Central Kitchen.  Just as they did last year, they are back out there this year feeding the firefighters.WCK-1Joining Chef Andrés were celebrity chefs Tyler Florence, Guy Fieri as well as many other chefs and volunteers.  You can see some of the pictures on the World Central Kitchen website.  Hats off to this very worthy organization and those who give of their own time and money to help feed those firefighters who are putting their lives on the line 24/7!


Two hearts …

Jonathan Pinkard collapsed at work one day a few months ago and was rushed to Piedmont Newnan Hospital in Coweta County, Georgia.  At 27 years of age, it was determined that Jonathan needed a heart transplant.  The problem wasn’t, as so often is the case, finding a heart, but rather Mr. Pinkard was deemed ineligible because he had no family to be his support system, to help him through the recovery process.  Without the transplant, Mr. Pinkard would die.

Enter ICU nurse Lori Wood …

“I think at some point God places people and situations in your life and you have a choice to do something about it. For me with this situation there was no choice. I had a room, I was a nurse, I could take care of him. So it really wasn’t anything that I struggled about it was just something that had to happen. He had to come home with me.”

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Jonathan Pinkard and Nurse Lori Wood

So, Lori officially adopted Jonathan Pinkard, which got him onto the transplant list, and he received a new heart in August.  Ms. Wood is helping him transition to living independently once again, and Mr. Pinkard plans to return to work next month! Jonathan Pinkard may have a new heart, but Lori Wood has a huge heart, don’t you think?


A very little good people …

This story first came to my attention via our friend Keith, and then I found it on the ‘net.  It’s a little thing, but I thought it worthy to be included here.

The kid’s name is Jackson Champagne, and he is 8 years old.  On Hallowe’en night, Jackson was out trick-or-treating when he came to a house with a candy bowl set outside, as some people do.  But alas!  The bowl was empty!  Not so much as am M&M remained!

“All gone. There ain’t no more candy.”

Jackson turned as if to leave empty-handed, but as he noticed other witches, ghosts and goblins coming up the walkway, he stopped, dug around in his own bag, and put some of his own candy in the bowl for the little guys coming behind him!

Now if that doesn’t just melt your heart.  Happens that the homeowner, Leslie Hodges, saw the whole thing on their home security video later on that evening.  Hodges said just what I always say on these Wednesday posts …

“He renewed the faith that there are still some good people out there.”

Quite so.


Remember, folks … there are lots of good people out there doing good things … you don’t even have to look far.  In fact, I’m betting that if you go down the hall in your house right now and look in the mirror, you will see a ‘good people’.

Good People Doing Good Things — California Wildfires

Wildfires have been raging seemingly forever in California. I don’t know for certain that there was even a break between the fires last December and the current batch that started in early April and is still going strong.  Wildfires are almost a given in California on an annual basis, but this year’s fires have exceeded any in the state’s history.  A total of 5,283 fires have so far burned an area of 903,797.6 acres … nearly one million acres!  And the toll isn’t only land and homes, but there is a human toll also. Just two days ago, yet another fire fighter died in the line of duty, the sixth this year.  In addition, eight civilians have also died.

The fire fighters have been working non-stop, sometimes 24-hour shifts with very little time for rest in between, so they haven’t had the time to sit down and tell us their stories, but some day they will and then I will listen and write about their amazing stories, their acts of heroism.  Meanwhile, though, I do have a few stories about good people doing good things in the tragedy of the California wildfires.  Most of these are small, yet heartwarming stories … the bigger ones will, no doubt, come later.


California Highway Patrols across California have deployed officers to help California residents evacuate from the fires.  This unidentified CHP officer rescued this deer and received a deer kiss in return.police rescues deer


Susan and Jeff Grant were evacuated from their home during the Carr fire, the second largest. Luckily, the fire didn’t damage their home and after 10 days in a motel, they were able to return home. When they did, they found a note from one of the fire fighters who had been working to protect the area …firefighter noteHe had watered their flowers & garden, and looked after their turkeys!  A small thing, but consider this man was likely exhausted and yet took a few minutes to do this small act of kindness for people he doesn’t even know.


Last Friday, the Nelson fire was rapidly approaching the Solano SPCA in Vacaville, and there it was obvious that there was a limited amount of time to get the animals out and taken to safety.  There were 67 animals in the shelter, including a python, and only a few minutes to get them out.  All the animals were safely rescued, thanks to the fine work of these men and women.

The shelter was spared and the animals were able to return the next day.  An added side benefit … about a dozen of the animals are now being adopted by their rescuers!


World Central Kitchen is a not-for-profit non-governmental organization devoted to providing meals in the wake of natural disasters that was founded in 2010 by celebrity chef José Andrés.  Along with Guy Fieri of Food Network fame, they are on the ground in Redding, California, near the Carr fire, feeding both the displaced and the crews who are working to contain the fires. Guy FieriFieri and Andrés have combined their efforts with local branches of disaster relief organizations the Red Cross and Salvation Army, as well as Operation BBQ Relief, an organization that rolls up with smokers to feed victims of natural disasters.  Together, they are feeding about 1,600 – 2,100 people a day.


Photographer Noah Berger was on assignment shooting photos of the Clayton fire in Northern California when a firefighter came out carrying a goat.  He asked Berger to please take the goat, as he needed to go back and get the others.  Turns out there were 10 goats stranded in the midst of the flames!goatThe family that owned the goats had been forced to evacuate, and couldn’t get the stubborn goats to come along, so they had no choice but to leave them behind.  Thanks to some heroic firefighters and Noah Berger, the little goats are safe.


These stories may not seem like much … just little things, really, like watering someone’s flowers or rescuing an animal … but these are the things that people with kind hearts, people with compassion, people who care about others do.  We help others, even if only in small ways.  Every single firefighter and rescue worker out there battling the heat, exhaustion, and risking their life has my undying gratitude and utmost respect.  These are my heroes this week. Let us hope for an end to these terrible fires soon before the toll in property and lives goes any higher.firefire-2fire-3

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Firefighter gives CPR to rescued dog … the dog lived!

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Exhausted