Crisis and troubled times bring can bring out the worst in people, but sometime it brings out the best. Here’s a few of the best generosity stories I’ve come across during the COVID-19 outbreak in the U.S.
Some diners have left enormous tips just before restaurants shut down dine-in service to help the staff weather a very challenging time. One couple in Houston left a $9,400 tip at Irma’s Southwest Grill.
And a guest at a Coach’s Bar and Grill in Columbus, Ohio, left a $2,500 tip to help the staff weather the next few weeks of closed restaurants and bars.
Grocery shopping for the elderly: An elderly couple in their 80s waited 45 minutes outside a grocery store. They were afraid to go in and get groceries because they knew they were susceptible to infection. When they spotted a person they felt they could trust, they called out for help. That person turned out to be Rebecca Mehra. After taking the woman’s $100 bill and grocery list, she went in and bought their groceries.
Jayde Powell, a college student in Nevada, organized a few classmates to shop for groceries and other necessities for those who need them, and quickly found herself recruiting more volunteers. Powell’s initial efforts quickly grew into a national network of volunteer groups called Shopping Angels.
Zion Williamson and the hourly workers: With the shutdown of the NBA season, those most affected are the hourly workers at the arena—those who help people find their seats, serve hotdogs, and pop the popcorn. Zion Williamson, a forward for the New Orleans Pelicans agreed to cover the wages of those hourly workers for the next 30 days. Other NBA players—Kevin Love, Blake Griffin, and Giannis Antetokounmpo—similarly have donated $100,000 to cover the wages of hourly workers in their cities.
Residents of James Island, SC, are voluntarily filling “blessing boxes” with food so those who need it can take it anonymously.
Trevor Bauer, a pitcher for the Cincinnati Reds, organized a charity whiffle ball game with the goal of raising $1 million dollars to aid displaced workers at his home stadium.
Then there’s this touching story of a couple separated by quarantine: Bob and Nancy Shellard celebrated their 67th anniversary just recently. One problem. Nancy was quarantined inside her nursing home because of the coronavirus concerns. So Bob, who normally visited her every day, made a big sign and stood outside her window holding it: “I’ve loved you 67 years and still do. Happy Anniversary.” Nancy waved and blew her kisses from behind the window.
Helping China’s orphans: the coronavirus, with its roots in China, has created another set of problems: orphans in China are having their adoptions delayed while travel is delayed. Lifeline, a U.S. adoption ministry, has stepped up to the need and is providing masks, hand sanitizer, vitamins and air purifiers to four large orphanages in China. One more way of giving back.
These are great stories of all kinds of people living the generous life.
I love how most of these stories are very personal and practical, through relational networks and neighborhoods. Diners supporting the staff at their favorite restaurants. Residents running errands for neighbors who need help. NBA and MBL players looking out for the staff at their home arenas.
Each of us have opportunities for everyday generosity—not likely things that will get us featured on national news, but focused on the good of those who experience it, and for those who see our lives.
It’s as simple as paying attention and meeting a need. Be on the lookout for ways you can use your resources to offer help and inspire hope in others.
What’s your story?
Main photo by Calle Macarone on Unsplash
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Published March 16, 2020