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. Needless 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 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.
Andrés’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.
“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?