The Kindness of Strangers

Back in July, a coworker of mine was seriously injured in an accident.  He has been in the hospital or in a rehab facility ever since.  It was a terrible situation to hear about, but these types of things always seem to bring out the very best in people.

His wife started a GoFundMe campaign and within a day of it circulating, over $1000 was raised.  So, a few of us at work decided to hold a bake sale, hoping not only to raise a few bucks for him but to also demonstrate that he is still in our thoughts, that we haven’t forgotten him even though we haven’t seen him in almost two months.

Part one of the bake sale lasted 90 minutes, and we raised $1240.  While the baked goods were delicious and the bakers who provided them were very generous, it was not the baked goods themselves that put the money in the collection bucket.

It was the extraordinary generosity and kindness of the people who work here, which is a reflection of both this community and this nation.  When tragedy strikes, people are there in practical ways, bringing money, food, clothing and other necessities, from both the highest paid employees to the lowest.  It touched my heart seeing entry level employees digging deep for our fellow coworker in need.

More than a few times, someone grabbed a cookie and threw $100 into the collection bucket.  The generosity nearly had us in tears.

As we prepare to understand the fallout of Hurricane Harvey, I will not be surprised by the outpouring of charity, love, and support from all across the nation for those displaced by the storm.  It is proof that private citizens are capable of coming together and working efficiently for a good cause.  We do not need bureaucracy getting in the way.  We do not need to be forced into being charitable.  Millions upon millions of people will give because they feel called in their hearts to do so.

When hurricane Ike hit the southern coast in 2008, my husband loaded up with some of his colleagues and went down and helped out for a week, restoring order and helping folks in need.  While I am proud of him, his story is far from unique. 

When I feel discouraged by the worst sides of humanity, which often gets full coverage on the news, I see these situations and I am reminded of the enormous potential that people have.  People can be so compassionate, so charitable and so eager to serve others, and we need to remember that when we get discouraged by the negativity we see.  My husband's friend is down there doing search and rescue, others have offered to take in those displaced by the storm.  I was told today that the HEB grocery store chain is down there with literal truckloads of provisions to help those in need.  It is truly an inspiration to see.

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