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Posts Tagged ‘gratitude’

What goes ’round, comes ’round, they say. In this story from the Washington Post “Optimist” newsletter, a drugstore cashier helped out a customer, and when the customer devised a way to acknowledge the favor, she learned that lots of people loved the cashier.

Cathy Free reports, “Real estate agent Rina Liou realized she had a problem as soon as she reached into her purse for her wallet at a Houston [Walgreens].

“She had stopped at the store to buy lightbulbs for an open house that would start in less than 30 minutes, but she had left her wallet at home. …

“ ‘I was pretty flustered,’ said Liou, 35. ‘I didn’t know what to do.’

“Liou, feeling a bit of panic, wondered how potential buyers would react when they couldn’t turn on the lights at the townhouse she was showing on that day, Sept. 7, she said. But then Walgreens checker Rita Jackson Burns spoke up:

‘I’m a little short on funds because I only have $20 in my checking account, but I’ll go ahead and pay for this for you,’ Liou recalled her saying.

“Then Burns pulled out her personal debit card. When she rang up the lightbulbs, Burns said she was relieved to see that they were on sale, costing $12.41.

“ ‘I was a little embarrassed that I only had $20 in the bank because I’d just paid my bills,’ Burns recalled. … ‘I wanted to help, because I know that if I were in a bind, I’d hope that somebody else would do the same,’ Burns said.

“Liou thanked Burns profusely and told her that she’d return later that afternoon to pay her back. She kept that promise. ‘She gave me $15, plus $30 extra, and told me to put it in my bank account,”’ said Burns, 58. …

“A few days later, Liou decided to take her gratitude one step further: She posted about her experience on her neighborhood’s Nextdoor page, and dozens of people chimed in, wondering how they could show their appreciation for Burns. Then Houston’s KHOU-11 television learned about Burns’s kind deed, and things really took off.

“Burns has worked at the Walgreens on Stella Link Road for 38 years and knows all of the regular customers, she said. Many of those people, including Michelle Suh, wanted to recognize her decades of service behind the cash register.

“Suh decided to organize a GoFundMe campaign called ‘Gratitude for Ms. Rita’ to reward Burns’s contributions as an essential worker during the coronavirus pandemic.

“ ‘Ms. Rita is a neighbor in the truest sense of the word,’ Suh wrote. ‘Until Walgreens and our country pays our essential workers more, let’s step up to make sure Ms. Rita has more than $20 in her account. … She has given us so much kindness, and we would love to show her how much she means to us,’ Suh added.

“The fundraiser has reached more than $11,000, and thankful customers have left dozens of comments.

“ ‘Ms. Rita, your smile and kind words greeted us every time we walked into the store,’ wrote Sandi Mercado, who donated $25. ‘On a bad day, you made us forget our troubles for a few minutes. On a good day, you shared in our laughter. … If you ever wondered if people notice your kindness … they do. We do.’ …

“ ‘The world needs more kind people like you,’ added Emilie Mavligit, who donated $10.

“Burns said she is stunned by the generosity. … She is the main provider for her husband, Robert Burns, a retired steel cutter, and their adult son, Jarrell.

“ ‘I’m going to save some of the money for a rainy day, but I’d like to donate a portion of it to help children in some way and show them what can happen if you help others,’ she said.”

More at the Washington Post, here.

Photo: Rina Liou via KHOU-11

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111118-thankful-sign-with-pumpkin

Wishing all good things to you and yours. We are in New York to have Thanksgiving with my sister and brother-in-law and Suzanne’s family. Among the things I’m thankful for this year are a few odd “even though/nevertheless” items. Even though the world is very troubled, nevertheless I’m grateful for all instances of kindness and goodness I see. Even though my sister has a bad cancer, nevertheless I’m grateful that she’s doing very well under treatment.

Someone wrote on twitter last week that many extended families are too divided to eat turkey together this year. But we owe it to ourselves and the world to focus on the things we have in common. There’s nothing new about having to avoid politics and religion in big family gatherings. We know how to do that. There are many more things we have in common with others if we’re determined to find those things.

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Thanksgiving-in-Prov-RIEarlier this month I wrote about a restaurant founded on gratitude. I liked something the owner said: “gratitude spills over,” meaning if someone does something nice for you it makes you feel like doing something nice for someone else. It got me thinking more about  gratitude, and I decided to make a list.

Suzanne’s Mom is grateful for: A peaceful neighborhood to live in, shelter, food, clothing, other people, a way to make a living, music, art, theater, books, poetry, nature. And especially, my family and a baby who lights up with a megawatt smile when I arrive, a one-year-old who wants to snuggle on the rug with a book, and a three-year-old who exclaims with wonder, “Grandma! Are you my daddy’s mommy?!”

Photo: AllSeasons4Tenants

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Pavithra Mehta writes at Yes! Magazine about a network of restaurants where guests are asked to “pay it forward.”

Mehta’s explanation is a little far out for me, but I know I wouldn’t mind eating at one of these places. They sound cheerful. And I would be happy to pay it forward.

“In Berkeley, Calif.,” Mehta writes, “the Karma Kitchen restaurant bases its business on the concept of gratitude. Each visitor can pay nothing or voluntarily pay for a meal for a future guest. …

“The bill comes with a note that explains their meal was a gift from someone who came before them. If they wish to pay it forward, they can make a contribution for someone who comes after them …

“More than six years [after its founding], Karma Kitchen is still going strong. It has served more than 30,000 meals and now has chapters in half-a-dozen cities around the world. And it is all sustained by gratitude.

“Karma Kitchen works on the deceptively simple premise that the heart that fills, spills. The nature of gratitude is to overflow its banks and circulate. It does not stand still. But remove that ineffable quality from the equation, and the virtuous cycle breaks down.

“The sociologist Georg Simmel called gratitude ‘the moral memory of mankind.’ It serves to connect us to each other in small, real, and human ways. Remove it from the fabric of our lives, and all relationship becomes an endless series of soulless transactions.”

More at Yes! here.

Video: Seva Café , Gujarat, India

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Suzanne pointed me to a special story about a high school classmate, Taishana Lewis, whose gratitude to the EMTs who saved her brother’s life led to a career change.

Melissa M. Werthmann wrote about it in the Boston Globe today.

“A worried sister called her younger brother one warm June night in 2009 to see if he wanted a ride home. There was no answer.

“Taishana Lewis soon learned that Matthew Lewis-Grant had been shot five times while leaving a barbecue. Thanks to the efforts of Boston EMS responders, Lewis-Grant survived the drive-by shooting.

“Now his sister is determined to give someone else the same chance. Grateful for her brother’s rescue and inspired by the commitment of emergency responders, Lewis graduated from the Boston EMS Academy today.

“ ‘I’d like to be able to give back what was given to my family and hopefully give someone that same reward of getting their loved one back,’ Lewis said. …

“Lewis-Grant, 25, now lives in Florida, but made the trip back north to see his sister graduate as an EMT and pin the badge on her at the ceremony, she said.

“ ‘He’s excited,’ she said. ‘He’s super-proud.’ ” More.

Photograph: David L. Ryan/Globe Staff
Taishana Lewis, with son Tyler Lewis looking on, gets her badge from her brother, Matthew Lewis-Grant.

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I’ve been thinking about angels and how almost anyone might be an angel at any moment in time. An ex-con who rescues a baby from a burning building is an angel to that baby’s family.

When I read this Boston Globe essay by Carlo Rotella (Boston College director of American Studies) I thought that — even though they all mispronounced his name — the people shouting encouragement as he ran a grueling marathon were angels to him that day. Especially a stranger he calls Mustache Man.

“Thank you, Mustache Man of Lowell,” Rotella writes, “and the rest of you no-r-pronouncing Samaritans along the race route. You said my name, badly, when I badly needed to hear it.”

And I’m thinking of a particularly nice thing that happened to me some years ago, after a dark time with chemo. Two completely unconnected friends chose Thanksgiving Day to acknowledge some little favor, which I learned was more than “little” to them. It was such a treat to receive their e-mails, one from China! I felt touched by two angels that Thanksgiving.

P.S. I hope it will not detract too much from the high-minded tone of this post if I do a kindness for Suzanne and point to the angel wing at Luna & Stella, the company that gives me permission to blog on “anything that interests me.”

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