This week. Houston, Texas. The package showed up at noon on Tuesday. The UPS man rang Michael’s doorbell and propped a large box against the door.
Twenty-two-year-old Michael shuffled to the door, leaning on his forearm crutches.
Walking is no easy chore for Michael. He has cerebral palsy. He has only been living on his own since November.
It was a major life adjustment, getting his own pad, but so far he loves it.
“I basically survive on Ben and Jerry’s,” says Michael. “Sometimes I eat ice cream for all three meals. I’ve gained 14 pounds.”
His mother is so proud.
Lately, Michael has been living largely, and trying new activities he never thought his condition would allow. Such as playing guitar.
He’s been taking lessons for months now. His current guitar is an inexpensive pawn-shop instrument that, when strummed, sounds about as melodic as a skillet being beaten with a dead squid.
But that all changed this week.
Michael opened the anonymous parcel on his porch and inside was a top-of-the-line Martin guitar. I asked Michael how much money a Martin of this caliber would cost.
“Well,” says Michael. “Let’s just say it’s worth a lot of ice cream.”
He still has no idea who sent the instrument. Mom and Dad didn’t send it. Neither did his grandparents. And none of Michael’s friends have enough cash to buy a gift like this, let alone pay their own car insurance.
“I want to thank whoever sent this gift,” Michael wrote in an email. “Maybe you can thank the anonymous person for believing in me.”
Meantime, up in Western Pennsylvania, where it’s colder than a witch’s Playtex clothing accessory, they accumulated about nine inches of snow this week.
On Monday, Coach Brian DeLallo at Bethel Park High School near Pittsburgh told his football team that their daily workout was scratched.
“Due to the expected severe weather,” Coach posted online, “Monday’s weightlifting workout has been canceled. Find an elderly or disabled neighbor and shovel their driveway. Don’t accept any money…”
In a few hours, 27 football players took to the snow-encrusted streets of Bethel Park. Their boots laced tightly, shovels slung over shoulders, earbuds wedged securely in earholes. The young men spent the entire day slinging snow.
One wide receiver recalls knocking on an elderly woman’s door.
“She was excited,” he said. “She asked, like, how much it was. We said it was free of cost, and she was all excited and thankful for it.”
When the boys were done shoveling, the old woman insisted that she is planning to donate to the school’s football program very soon.
Personally, I think the woman ought to consider donating homemade pierogies to the young athletes. Because this is exactly what another lady did in Cleveland recently.
A few days ago, Pam Markland was exiting a big-box department store when she found a young man airing up the tires of her Ford Escape in the parking lot with an air compressor.
“What are you doing?” Pam said, reaching into her purse where she keeps her military-grade pepper spray.
“Your tires were low,” he said. “Thought I’d pump them up for you.”
Pam was awestruck. She offered to pay him for his trouble, but he refused reimbursement. Instead, he made an unusual request. “Do you happen to know how to make pierogies?”
The young man went on to explain that his mother died recently, and he dearly misses this homemade Northern dish.
“Do I make pierogies?” said Pam.
It was a rhetorical question.
Because the next afternoon, Pam whipped up a batch of buttered joy. She served the pierogies with ham and Brussels sprouts. Although, frankly, I have a very hard time getting behind any story which promotes the blatant usage of Brussels sprouts.
And lastly, that brings us to Atlanta, where John was eating at a local breakfast joint when he saw a young woman across the street attempting to break into a car with a coat hanger.
John excused himself from the counter and approached the young woman gently. John is not a small man. He tips the scale at roughly 280 pounds and his hands are like hams.
“Whatcha doin’?” said John.
The young woman froze.
Next, John asked the young woman to join him for breakfast or else he was going to call the cops.
She thought about it. “I’d be delighted,” she said.
They didn’t have a heart-to-heart talk; no life changing promises were made. That stuff only happens on the Hallmark Channel. But the young woman did tell John that the car belonged to her boyfriend, who was refusing to pay child support.
“I can’t even afford food for my son,” she admitted.
So John offered the young woman a job at his construction business, managing his office. The young woman accepted. She started work last week, and so far things have been working out famously.
After work a few days ago, the young woman approached him with watery eyes and said, “Why are you being so nice to me?”
John answered, “I don’t think anyone needs a reason to be nice.”
And try as I may, I simply cannot think of a better closing sentence than that.
So if you’ll excuse me, I have a date with a carton of Ben & Jerry’s.
CHARALEEN WRIGHT - January 22, 2022 6:35 am
KC - January 22, 2022 7:36 am
Thank you, Sean, for these heart warming stories of people simply loving one another. The most important commandment from Jesus before he died, (John 13:24).
Sandi. - January 22, 2022 8:28 am
KC, I think you meant to type John 13:34.
NancyB. - January 22, 2022 8:37 am
There are two groups of people in the world. Group 1 is made up of people who never see life in a positive way and thus are perceived as mean, unhappy individuals, seldom bringing joy to those around them. Group 2 are the ones you described today, Sean, positive, with great attitudes, spreading kindness to those around them. Thank you for reminding us of the group we want to belong to.
Ann - January 22, 2022 11:11 am
Your real life stories are so reassuring that things are “ gonna be alright “
Tim Smith - January 22, 2022 11:18 am
“Amen!” to the line about Brussels Sprouts.
Sylvia - January 22, 2022 12:15 pm
Omigosh. Multiple smiles, a LOL, and tears all from the same uplifting essay. Thank you!
Thad Pettyjohn - January 22, 2022 1:20 pm
Your “ Waffle House” Christianity of grace and love and peace is a light in the darkness. Bless you!
Bud McLaughlin - January 22, 2022 1:26 pm
This was the perfect start for the weekend. There are still good people out there. Thank you, Sean, for shining a light through the darkness.
Debbie g - January 22, 2022 1:33 pm
Amen. Bud and Sean let us not forget to turn on lights
Thanks Sean again what an awesome message
Love to all
Ernie - January 22, 2022 1:34 pm
These remind me of “Some Good News.” Thanks. Warmed my heart on a cold Covid-complicated day.
Scott "Zapper" Mayes - January 22, 2022 1:35 pm
Sean, read your post every day since one was forwarded by a friend. Just want to thank you for the spirit lifting! Not a small accomplishment in this current state of our world. I believe in angels, I know you do. I pray that I might be assigned that kind of duty when I shuffle off my mortal coils.
Bill E. - January 22, 2022 1:54 pm
Sean, you are so right. ““I don’t think anyone needs a reason to be nice.” Great stories.
Paul McCutchen - January 22, 2022 2:02 pm
Another great one Sean. We could use some “nice” in the world.
Shelton A. - January 22, 2022 2:11 pm
You don’t have to look for angels just in heaven. They’re here, too. We’ve just read about a few. No one forced them to be kind, compassionate, or empathetic. They just are…I don’t think they stopped because Sean’s story ended. We all can be like this. Realize God loves you and so love yourself like God does. Then go and love your neighbor. We can all be angels. God bless you, Sean and Jamie.
Rachel Tarses - January 22, 2022 2:15 pm
A column on kindness. How can this be in today’s world? Thank you
Melanie - January 22, 2022 2:30 pm
Millions of tiny blessings happen every day ☺️ Thank you for reminding us, Sean. ❤️
Peggy C - January 22, 2022 2:52 pm
This one really brightened my snowy day. Thanks so much!
Cynthia Russell - January 22, 2022 3:01 pm
Sarah - January 22, 2022 3:03 pm
Julie P, RN - January 22, 2022 3:06 pm
Even though it’s really just an old myth that it takes 43 muscles to frown and only 17 to smile, make an effort to work more muscles, and smile to spread some joy! Every time you do, you’ll be happier for ii! And so will the person smiling back at you❣️
Lorene - January 22, 2022 3:27 pm
Kindness makes you the most beautiful person in the world, no matter what you look like. May we all have a spot of kindness in our hearts.
Cathy M - January 22, 2022 3:46 pm
Maybe this pandemic has caused us to think more deeply abt. Our fellow man and small acts of kindness. I see it right here in my little neighborhood. Young and old, we have come together. Checking in each other. Making homemade soup, picking up what someone needs at the store. What this man did for the woman is life hanging. God bless them both
Lisa - January 22, 2022 3:59 pm
Thank you for the daily blessing of a well-written reminder of God’s presence here on earth. Hang in there.
normallen - January 22, 2022 4:20 pm
I have to say… I really liked all of these testimonies! Keep up the good work!
l - January 22, 2022 5:51 pm
A guitar-player in Houston. A coach who changed the workout to shoveling snow. Pam’s pierogies. A job. “Nice and Kind” is a word-pairing My guy and I use a lot. They just go together. And these people and kindnesses made me think of and listen to Louis Armstrong’s Wonderful World. Stories from Sean Dietrich bring a lot of that wonder into my world every day….isn’t that nice!
Linda Moon - January 22, 2022 5:54 pm
P.S. I commented above…the lone “L” appeared again, so it’s just me again to clarify!
Susie Flick - January 22, 2022 6:10 pm
Love today’s collection of “just being nice” stories – warms my heart!
MAM - January 22, 2022 8:09 pm
Thanks for the good stories. Your essays continue as great additions to my every day! Thanks, Sean!
George - January 22, 2022 8:19 pm
Sean, This is my first of your columns for me. I read about you in a recent column by Neil Joiner.
I look forward to reading each new column that you write.
Stacey Wallace - January 22, 2022 10:35 pm
I love when people do nice things and expect nothing in return. Last night, while I was waiting for my to-go order at a local restaurant, a lady paid for a policeman’s supper. I told her I liked her style. May God bless these wonderful people.
Pat McNeill - January 23, 2022 12:14 am
One of your best!! Thank you!!
Diana - January 23, 2022 1:58 am
This is the most perfect bog post I could’ve read today for my birthday. Nice people doing nice things for no reason at all. That’s what Jesus wants us all to do. God bless these folks and God bless you, Sean.
kim - January 23, 2022 5:07 am
I have tears!
Patricia Gibson - January 23, 2022 4:34 pm
Sean, in today’s world I am so grateful for the reminder of wonderful people! God bless you
Karen Snyder - January 23, 2022 7:14 pm
Thanks for continuously choosing to shine a light on the goodness, the caring, and the loving among us. Please, however, don’t malign the humble, delicious Brussels sprouts. The next time you visit a Piggly Wiggly (or Safeway, or . . .) check the frozen veggies section, locate and try a bag of Birdseye Shredded Brussels sprouts in a parmesan and garlic sauce. I can, and do on occasion, eat the entire bag for dinner. (No I’m not on Birdseye’s payroll.😏)
Kathy - January 26, 2022 12:53 pm
Thank you for sharing your gift of writing. Your stories keep me believing there is hope.