Feelin’ Good All Over

FORT MITCHELL, Ky.—The Oriental Wok restaurant is your quintessential family owned Chinese restaurant. They’ve been around for 42 years, and business has been good. But business is about to go down the toilet due to the shutdowns on Monday.

Restaurant after restaurant is closing. One out of every five people in the U.S. have either lost their jobs, or had their hours taken away due to the coronavirus pandemic.

If you’ve ever worked in food service, you know how this closure hurts. A server lives on tips. Five bucks here, eight bucks there. Servers are constantly carrying platters, collecting dirty dishes, forcing smiles, yes-sirring, no-ma’aming, and apologizing because the kitchen made the General Tso’s chicken spicy enough to disable a musk ox.

After a typical shift, many servers go home, balance their checkbooks, and discover they will be eating Kraft Mac and Cheese for the next six months because of mounting bills, and their oldest kid needs dental braces.

Just before the Oriental Wok closed its doors, a few final customers walked in. They were regulars. They ate, they paid, they left.

There was a note written on their receipt, which read: “Your family has always taken such good care of us through the years, we know it’s going to be a tough few months.”

They left a $1,000 tip.

LAKE WACCAMAW, N.C.—Carly Boyd got engaged last week. She’s a young woman, pretty, a nursing student at Southwestern Community College.

Between classes, Carly apparently does her grandfather’s laundry then drops it off at the Premier Living and Rehab Center where he lives. To call her “dedicated” would be like calling Clifford the Big Red Dog a “Chihuahua.”

When Carly dropped laundry off Monday, a staff person noticed a new ring on her finger. “You’re engaged!” said the staff person.

Sadly, the nursing home is restricting all visitors, so there was no way for Carly to show the ring to her grandfather. But the nursing home administrator, Genie, had an idea. Genies usually do.

She led Carly around the outside of the building to her grandfather’s room. Carly could see her grandfather lying on his bed, eating ice cream. She knocked on his window. She pointed to her ring.

Genie says, “He got up to see it better, and she put her hand on the window, and he put his hand on the window, and we all just fell apart.”

I just did, too.

This story raises a very important question: If nursing home residents are allowed to eat ice cream in the middle of the day, how does one apply for residency? I’m asking for a friend.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark.—Ricky found a dog on the side of the road yesterday. The dog just sort of followed him when he was walking through his neighborhood.

Since the mass quarantine, Ricky has been listless and bored. He’s an extrovert, his mother says. And it’s hard for outgoing kids to be trapped indoors with nothing but what Ricky refers to as, “books and stuff.”

“Ricky would WAY rather be with people than sit still,” says his mother.

The dog is a cocker spaniel, brown. It was covered in mud. So Ricky washed the dog in the backyard and named him. The two have hit it off. The dog slept on a stack of quilts last night in the garage.

This morning, Ricky swore under threat of his own life that he would take care of the dog, and not make his mom do all the work like he did with the last pet.

Still, his mother doesn’t plan to let Ricky keep the animal. Not unless Ricky power-washes the deck and promises to mow the yard all summer.

That’s a tough break, Ricky.

HOUSTON—Guy walks into a Mexican restaurant. Guy orders a meal. Guy consumes dangerous amounts of cheese dip. Then, this guy pays his bill and leaves. He has included a note on his receipt. This is getting eerily familiar.

The note reads: “Hold tip to pay your guys for the next few weeks.”

The tip is for $9,400.

The server nearly has to be revived with cold water.

This happened yesterday at Irma’s Southwest restaurant, which was closing down just like every other place in town. The $9,400 was divided evenly among the staff. Each employee took home $300. It was an emotional day.

“I mean, I don’t have words for it,” said general manager, Janet Montez. “I really don’t.”

Neither do I. And that’s actually why I wrote this. This morning, I sat down to write something else, but I couldn’t. Because when I opened my inbox, it was flooded with messages from too many people. People who had a story about someone who did something nice, somewhere in the world.

These stories of kindness are coming from almost every U.S. state, and I have been reading them for hours. Someone left a big tip in California, Kansas, Louisiana. A young man paints his elderly neighbor’s house because he’s been laid off. A local choir sings “Happy Birthday” for an elderly woman over the phone.

It moved me. You sit down and read one of these sweet stories; it blesses you. You read five in a row, and you decide you want to be a better person. You read a hundred, and you start to cry like a teenage girl at an Elvis concert. Because you never believed that there could be THIS much good happening during such a rough time.

But there is good stuff happening. It’s everywhere. It’s in the air, and it’s highly contagious. And if you don’t believe me, I’ll bet $1,000 bucks you’re wrong.

39 comments

  1. Ann - March 19, 2020 10:24 am

    Your stories about real people are so reassuring that everything is “ gonna be alright “….bless you Sean and thank you🥰

    Reply
  2. Harriet White - Atlanta - March 19, 2020 10:26 am

    Nailed It!! I love the ending!

    Reply
  3. LeAnne Martin - March 19, 2020 10:53 am

    Beautiful! Thank you, Sean! Keep ’em coming! 🙂

    Reply
  4. Jean - March 19, 2020 11:29 am

    It’s nice to read something positive! There are some very good folks here…and the worst times brings them out. I say God bless them all!!

    Reply
  5. Charles Vianey - March 19, 2020 11:48 am

    Sean,

    Thanks for sharing these stories. People need to hear about people helping people now more than ever.

    Charles

    Reply
  6. Jen - March 19, 2020 12:10 pm

    Thank you again Sean for sharing the “Goodness” during this time! I had ice cream at lunch yesterday too, just because.

    Reply
  7. Phil - March 19, 2020 12:22 pm

    That’s a sure-fire sucker bet that I am not about to take, because you are so right, Sean. There is SO much good in the world. We hear about it the most when there is a crisis, but it also goes on every day, often unnoticed, as we go about our hustle-and-bustle lives. Something like this consarned blankety-blank Corona causes many of us to step back and think about just how fragile mankind really is. Then, after that step back, those who are able need to step forward and do what they can to help. Uh-oh, got to go – it’s almost time for me to head for the local Meals on Wheels center to get food and deliver to shut-ins.

    Reply
  8. Jan - March 19, 2020 12:48 pm

    Good one! Thank you for brightening our days and showing us just how good people can be!

    Reply
  9. Terri - March 19, 2020 12:51 pm

    I’m not crying, you are. Love you much Sean.

    Reply
  10. Marilyn - March 19, 2020 12:54 pm

    Oh, how I needed your encouraging words this morning! Thank you, on this first day of spring, for brightening my mood.

    Reply
  11. Sylvia - March 19, 2020 1:30 pm

    There are plenty of good people in this world. They just don’t get much coverage because of the huge number of bad people outweighing them. It takes a crisis like this to bring them out. Loved this post Sean. We need to be reminded about the good ones more often…

    Reply
  12. Jean - March 19, 2020 1:50 pm

    More of this please!

    Reply
  13. Glenda Hinkle - March 19, 2020 2:04 pm

    The good in people is coming out all over……I’m crying EXACTLY like I did as a teenager at an Elvis concert…….

    Reply
  14. Jo Ann - March 19, 2020 2:12 pm

    Wonderful, wonderful= filled with wonder. No matter what the talking heads say, you, your readers, & I , do believe the good people outnumber the bad. It’s great they’re getting some acknowledgement. Thanks, Sean.

    Reply
  15. K Clem - March 19, 2020 2:14 pm

    These are so heartwarming, especially in these uncertain times. I work for a small business
    (bakery/eatery) and we’ve had an amazing surge of faithfully loyal (and some new) customers the last few days.
    We have always offered curbside pickup but it’s been seriously amped up this week. There are 4 of us working there
    (including the 2 owners), and we *almost* couldn’t keep up with the flow yesterday – but it was a good thing
    to know people are trusting us to keep bringing them good homemade food and still do it in a clean and safe
    way. We have really felt the love despite the worrisome situation right now. Thanks for all of these great stories
    that show just how wonderful human beings can be!

    Reply
  16. Norman Purdue - March 19, 2020 2:35 pm

    Sean, it’s in the air. Not just the corneyvirus but the goodness and generousity of folks all around.
    Personal testimony…

    I am 85 and still work. After retiring in 2000 from a missionary organization we moved to Amelia Island. There we encountered Publix for the first time. We were so impressed with everything about Publix. Especially that they gave employment opportunitie to elderly and people with some form of disability. I thought to myself,
    “One day I might ask Publix for a job”.

    Sixteen years later we moved to Dothan to be near our son. There is a Publix 5 minutes from our apartment. One day I took the plunge and applied. Was hired and have been bagging groceries and helping folks out to their car for three years now. Because this viruses seems to take a heavier toll on old folks like me, I decided to ask for a thirty day leave of absence to see if things might settle down. It was graciously granted.

    Someone at our church heard about this and called to say that they wanted to cover the loss of income for us, came by and gave us $1000!
    Wow! Yes, this present trouble is bringing out the best in people. Thanks be to God.

    Norm

    Reply
  17. Tom Wallin - March 19, 2020 2:38 pm

    Thanks, Sean. I love these stories. It’s too bad these are not on the daily news instead of all the bad stuff I don’t want to hear about. God bless all the Angels in the world, especially right now.

    Reply
  18. Edna Barron - March 19, 2020 2:39 pm

    There really are lots of wonderful folks out here. Thanks for letting everyone know about them. You be safe and have a wonderful day, hugs, Edna B.

    Reply
  19. Lita - March 19, 2020 2:50 pm

    Awesome stories. Thank you, Sean. I’m crying. Stay well. Good health to you and yours xx

    Reply
  20. Ann - March 19, 2020 2:50 pm

    Made my heart happy, God bless you

    Reply
  21. Connie Havard Ryland - March 19, 2020 2:57 pm

    Thank you so much for sharing these stories. I look forward every morning to reading your column and you always make me feel better. Love and hugs.

    Reply
  22. Sue Riddle Cronkite - March 19, 2020 3:04 pm

    Thank God for the Good Stuff. The best is coming out in folks. Reminds me of the Great Depression when my mother fed hobos who cut firewood for food and a sleeping spot for the night on the front porch.

    Reply
  23. Andy Gartman - March 19, 2020 3:07 pm

    Thanks for sharing these great stories, Sean. We all need to hear about goodness, but especially right now.
    Your preacher buddy.

    Reply
  24. Meg Widmer - March 19, 2020 3:09 pm

    If we all do one act of kindness in the next few days, (& hopefully onward!) just imagine what the world would be like. Thank you. meg

    Reply
  25. Vera - March 19, 2020 3:21 pm

    All these comments and stories of hope come from the God who knows we all can be a good neighbor and friend to others. He is using this to show how much the world has that is good, not evil. Thank you for them, keep them coming😁

    Reply
  26. tammy - March 19, 2020 3:36 pm

    Thanks, Sean, for sharing uplifting and encouraging acts of kindness. We need to hear them ALL!

    Reply
  27. Janie's Jottings - March 19, 2020 3:59 pm

    There really is a lot of good in the world Sean. Here’s my contribution to the good news: My husband and I are in our 60’s. He has breathing issues & Type 2 Diabetes. I babysit 3 kids 3 & under. Two of the mom’s I keep kids for have offered to get our groceries since we are in the high risk group. I can’t tell you how much their offers meant to us. As we try not to worry and fight depression daily we too are amazed once again by the good in people.
    Thank you for this post!

    Reply
  28. Bkr - March 19, 2020 4:10 pm

    Thank you Sean! I am So thankful someone else shares my mindset that there are good people in the world and all is not doom and gloom. This is the greatest country in the world and it comes out in times of adversity. I will not fear and we need more people like you out there spreading the good news of the goodness of people! Thank you!!

    Reply
  29. Linda Moon - March 19, 2020 5:35 pm

    Some gingerheads I know and love have made me feel good during this rough time…not just you, Dietrich, but two others who are actual kin. Another kinfolk who is blonde raised her kids as a waitress on tips. And, boy-oh-boy, is she a good tipper now that she’s finished raising those younguns! I think Levon Helm was partially right: some of the money in the world CAN be spent on Feelin’ Good. I believe you, Sean, and the late Levon too. So you can keep your $1,000 bucks!!

    Reply
  30. Grant Burris - March 19, 2020 5:40 pm

    Thanks, Sean for the good news. With all the inherent bad stories it was wonderful to read about some truly good folks out there. Very inspirational.

    Reply
  31. Patricia Gibson - March 19, 2020 6:28 pm

    We are so blessed that you share the good news! Stay healthy!

    Reply
  32. Karen Greatrix - March 19, 2020 6:48 pm

    Thank you and bless you for sharing the good news.

    Reply
  33. robnrockin - March 19, 2020 7:02 pm

    Thank you so much for these – you are helping me get through these days. I’m going to hug your neck someday! Promise!

    Reply
  34. catladymac - March 19, 2020 7:16 pm

    Thank God they have you as a clearing house to pass these along to us !

    Reply
  35. Jenny Young - March 20, 2020 11:32 am

    Keep them coming…don’t stop sharing them.

    Reply
  36. Walt Gustafson - March 20, 2020 3:31 pm

    Reminds me of a line from Woody Guthrie’s “Pretty Boy Floyd”, one of the great songs of the 1930s: “People tell you of a stranger who had come to beg a meal, and underneath his napkin left a thousand-dollar bill.”

    Reply
  37. Debbie - March 20, 2020 9:50 pm

    These stories are simply beautiful, there is so much good in our world … so many kind and generous people❤️

    Reply
  38. mary granger - March 20, 2020 11:04 pm

    thank you for uplift

    Reply
  39. Kim - April 5, 2020 10:31 am

    1 in 5 closed down,,laid off or lost wages huh ?? Well,,,,what if the other four take this 1200.00 “stimulus” we are supposed to get and find that 1 and help them out…. I think that is what you have inspired me to do….Thanks. I’m one of the lucky 4 who is still working..

    Reply

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