Good People Doing Good Things — The Gift Of Self

Follow-Up

I want to start this week’s ‘good people’ with a follow-up to one of last week’s stories.  You may remember the woman who was at the McDonald’s drive-thru with a cranky child in the car and suddenly realized she had left her purse with her money at home.  The young man working the drive-thru did not hesitate but used his own bank card to pay for her order.  Last week, that young man, Wyatt Jones, was the ‘good people’, and in this week’s follow-up, the woman, Brittany Reed, is also a good people, as well as many others. 

Ms. Reed was so grateful to young Wyatt, but he wouldn’t accept any extra money from her.  So, she managed to contact his mother, who told her that Wyatt was working to save money to buy a car.  Ms. Reed jumped into action and started a GoFundMe page with a goal of raising $5,000 to help Wyatt buy a car. 

My jaw dropped when I visited the page and found that nearly two thousand people had donated to the fund for a total of $34,820!!!Jones-fundraiserMs. Reed is certainly a good people for wanting to do something kind for Wyatt who had helped her in a time of need, but so are each and every one of those 1,900 people who have donated, some as little as $10, others $100.  I don’t know about you, but it warms my heart to know that so many people do still care about others and want to help out.  Lots of thumbs up in this one!


A good cop

We hear a lot about the bad apples in law enforcement these days, and it’s enough to make us lose faith in those who we are supposed to trust to serve and protect us.  But they aren’t all bad … there are an awful lot of police officers who are doing their best to be members of the community, to protect and instill trust.  So, when I get the chance, I like to shine a light on those officers who have gone the extra mile to do something good.  Today’s shining example of a genuinely good cop is Officer Arthur Parker of Plano, Texas. parker-2Officer Parker retired earlier this year, but he is missed by one and all at Clark High School.  Affectionately known as O.P., he had served for 34 years with the Plano Police Department, 27 of which were spent as a School Resource Officer.  When on duty directing traffic outside the school, his dance moves earned him fame.  Said Parker …

“I had a patrol call and say someone called and said there’s an officer drunk in the street. They got a real call!”

Officer-Parker-1Says the school’s principal, Janice Williams …

“My first impression was ‘oh my gosh, this is gonna be the person that’s gonna be protecting us’ because he did his normal goofy OP (Officer Parker) thing and went into some kind of character, and he’s kept me laughing ever since.”

Officer-Parker-3To keep students motivated, Parker even taught himself a tune on the harmonica for every situation. For a history lesson, he plays Taps. When he’s trying to get kids to move along, he said “Play ‘Star Wars,’ ‘Luke, I am your father, go to class.’”  To the teens at Clark High, he’s a confidant and confidence booster.

According to the students …

“OP, he really tries to find that connection.”

“He’s mostly just taught me how to be confident no matter what.”

“When it’s fun. he’s always fun, when things get real, he’s strict.”

ParkerOfficer Parker may be retiring from the Plano Police Department, but he’s not leaving the students, for even in retirement he plans to use his unique style of humor and dancing to win over students.

“People are saying, hey it’s time to relax. No, it’s not! I’ve got energy. Relax? Please!  If I go to school and volunteer, I have to be there enough times to say, ‘hey, we know who he is! That’s O.P. Old person. Not Officer Parker any longer.’”

Now, Officer Parker didn’t rescue people from burning houses, didn’t donate his life savings to someone in need, so you might be asking yourself why I feature him in this week’s ‘good people’ post.  Well, folks, good people are carers, givers.  Officer Arthur Parker cares about people, particularly those young people at Plano High School, and he gave … continues to give … of the most precious thing any of us have: himself and his time.  It’s easy enough to write a check, or donate online to a worthy cause, and I’m not knocking that … not at all!  But, the most beautiful gift, I think, is the gift of self, of selflessly giving your time to someone who needs it. 

We will never know how much of a difference OP made in the lives of some of those students, but I’m betting that to some, he was literally a lifesaver. 


And a couple of short ones from CNN’s ‘Good Stuff’ newsletter …

Love’s labors found

Tim-GjoraasTim Gjoraas, a 45-year-old teacher from Sioux Falls, South Dakota, knew he may not have long to live. After battling colon cancer for several years, doctors told him it was terminal. So, Gjoraas (first row, black shirt above) decided it was finally time to repaint the outside of his house. It was something his wife had always wanted, and if ever there was a time for fulfilling wishes, it would be now. Originally, he had asked a friend to take care of the task for him next year, with the understanding that Gjoraas, sadly, may not be around to see it through. However, word got out to his community, and more than a dozen people showed up to get the job done while Gjoraas could still enjoy it. They drank craft beers, told stories, and within half a day the house was a beautiful new shade of blue. It’s just one way, Gjoraas says, that his friends and neighbors have stepped up during this difficult time. “My community has really gone to bat for my family and I over and over and over,” he said.

California firefighter Grant Newnom …

… who drove straight from a 60-hour shift with the San Jose Fire Department to help save his girlfriend’s parents’ home from an approaching wildfire.  Elise Jones, his girlfriend, was having dinner with her parents at their home in Santa Rosa when they were ordered to evacuate. When Newnom arrived on the scene, he started moving woodpiles, debris and other flammable materials away from the house and used his chainsaw to cut down nearby trees to protect the home.fireAs he was leaving, a Santa Rosa fire truck drove up. Because of its location, the Santa Rosa fire captain decided that’s where firefighters would make their fight against the impending blaze. Though the rest of the area was sadly not as lucky, the house was saved.


Critters is good people too …

I don’t know who wrote this or what the circumstances were, but it touched my heart.

“Ham saved my life yesterday. He hurt his paw but I’m alive because of his bravery.

I was working on my house where I fell and was critically injured. He ran to me and started howling and crying; he tried to drag me and ripped his foot open. Luckily he got my neighbors attention. I should be dead, but he saved me.HamThank you, Ham. You are my best friend.”


See, friends, you don’t have to be rich or have vast resources to be a good people … all you have to do is care enough to give the gift of self, to give up an hour or two of your valuable time to help someone.  I bet if we all try, we can be good people this week … what do you say?

Good People Doing Good Things

Good people come in all shapes and sizes, all ages, all colours and can be found almost anywhere, but sometimes you have to look for them, for they don’t go about tooting their own horns, making a public spectacle of themselves.  It’s encouraging, I think, to find these people and know that kindness & compassion still exist.


A simple act of kindness

Izayah Edwards is a senior at Merrillville High School in Crown Point, Indiana.  According to his bio on his scholarship application …

“My ultimate goal in life would be to become a pediatrician and help kids in need. I am most passionate about my education, I work hard. I am a great candidate because I am self driven and things that I set out to do, I give my all.”

About a month ago, Isayah began working as a bagger at the Jewel-Osco supermarket in his town.  One day last week, an elderly woman was checking out and as he was bagging her groceries, he saw her struggling … counting and re-counting the bills in her wallet, but coming up a little short.  Izayah, according to a woman who was next in line, didn’t hesitate, but pulled out his own wallet and quietly handed the woman a $20 bill.Izayah-EdwardsThe woman who was next in line snapped a photo and posted it on Facebook, and from there the story went viral.  Last I heard, Indiana State Representative Lisa Beck is planning to honor him at a ceremony with Crown Point’s mayor soon.  This young man is going to be a fine pediatrician someday … I believe in him.


Another young person steps up to the plate

It seems that the youth of today haven’t yet discovered greed and selfishness … let’s hope they never do!

This one happened at the McDonald’s drive-thru in Waynesville, Ohio.  I will let the recipient of the kindness, Brittany Reed, tell you the story …

“Tonight as I was leaving football practice with my three kiddos my 4 year old was so tired he started crying and acting a fool as we were getting in the van. My 7 year old daughter started crying because I told her we were having red potatoes as a side for dinner and clearly she wasn’t a fan sooo I threw my hands up and said FORGET it – McDonald’s tonight!

We go through the drive through, order food, all three kids are now crying for one reason or the other. I go to pay – I LEFT MY PURSE AT HOME. Welp now I wanted to cry. I look at the young man with tears in my eyes just from being stressed and annoyed and say ‘hun I am so sorry but I have to cancel that order I left my purse at home when we went to football tonight’ WITHOUT HESITATION he takes out his wallet and swipes his card before I could even say ‘no I will be right back!’

I was like ‘wait no hun it’s ok I will come back through’ then he replies ‘no it’s totally fine, my pleasure’.

I snapped a quick picture and asked his name to which he replied Wyatt Jones ma’am. I told him I would be right back with cash for him and he tried hard to talk me out of it.Wyatt-JonesI just want his parents to know how KIND and COMPASSIONATE your son was tonight! He made this stressed out momma pause for a moment and realize this is exactly what we parents are trying to do, raise great humans. Well Wyatt sir, you are an amazing human!!!

I went back and handed him cash and had to make him take it because he didn’t want to take more than he had paid but I wanted him to know that when you put good out in the world it comes back to you ten fold!

Wyatt, do not let this world change your kind heart young man for its people like YOU that will change this world for the better!”

I fully agree.


A helping hand from across the border …

The wildfires on the West Coast are devastating … millions of acres of land has been razed, homes destroyed, lives and livestock lost.  Firefighters are exhausted, their numbers nowhere near sufficient to control these horrific fires.  Last Wednesday, help arrived in the form of firefighters from Mexico’s National Forestry Commission.  The five crews from Mexico — a total of 100 firefighters — will help fight the Sequoia Complex Fire, which spans more than 144,000 acres.Mexican-firefighteresAccording to Eduardo Cruz, the Mexican agency’s national fire director …

“Fires do not have borders, fires do not have different languages and cultures. In the end we all speak the same language when it comes to fighting fire.”

I try hard to keep politics out of my Wednesday ‘good people’ posts, but I cannot help mentioning how so many people in this country have followed the rhetoric of the person in the Oval Office in denigrating Mexicans, and yet just look … they are risking their lives, giving of their own time away from their families, to help us save homes, land and people.  Remember this next time you hear someone put down Hispanics or Mexicans … or any other ethnicity.  There are good people everywhere.  For my part, I offer a heartfelt thanks to these wonderful firefighters for their assistance!


Good critters doing good things

Magawa, a giant African pouched rat, has been awarded a British charity’s top civilian award for animal bravery, receiving the honor for searching out unexploded landmines in Cambodia.  The People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals, PDSA, started as a free veterinary clinic in 1917 and has honored heroic animals since 1943.MagawaMagawa was trained by a Belgian organization that has taught rats to find landmines for more than 20 years. The group, APOPO, works with programs in Cambodia, Angola, Zimbabwe and Mozambique to clear millions of mines left behind from wars and conflicts.

Magawa is the group’s most successful rat, having cleared more than 141,000 square meters of land, the equivalent of some 20 soccer fields.  Before Magawa, all the recipients were dogs.