Saturday, February 22, 2014

America; Random Acts of Kindness


Having lived in several foreign countries, I think I can safely say that Americans are the kindest, most generous people on earth.  I don't care what community you're living in, you'll find unending random acts of kindness from complete strangers are expressed every hour of every day.  A little girl has her bike stolen?  As soon as word gets out that little girl will have a replacement bike by the next morning.  Millions of Americans this week will ship comfort items to our troops deployed overseas.  A million pints of blood will be donated to the blood bank.  Victims of natural disasters will find love and comfort in the form of relief aid, care packages and volunteers flooding into the area to clean it up.  This is the America that makes me most proud and instills a love for my countrymen that is beyond bounds.

Let me give you a little sample of a most recent act of kindness.  A local senior named George Bruck, known in his community as "the nicest guy in Surprise, Arizona", had bad luck befall him on Superbowl Sunday.  George, an 80 year old Korean War vet, owned a 1996 Ford Taurus with 150,000 miles on the odometer.  On Superbowl Sunday, George had driven to church, then to Bingo, then stopped at a gas station to buy a $2 dollar lottery ticket before heading home.  While he was in the store someone stole his car.  George admits leaving the keys in his car, "stupidly", he says, believing that no one would steal his 20 year old Ford Taurus on its last legs.  Or that anyone would want his penguin backpack.

Maybe the thief didn't know that George was the nicest guy in Surprise.  Maybe the thief didn't know that George needs that old car to take him to the VA hospital each week...and he would certainly need it to drive to the hospital next month when he undergoes an angiogram.

George lives in a small apartment with two chairs, a bed and little else.  He lives on his $1,000 dollars a month Social Security pension.  Like many seniors, his old car was his lifeline to get out of the house, to go to the doctor, to go to church, to visit friends.   

Fortunately George has a loving nephew over in Gilroy, California who started an Internet campaign to raise money to get George a replacement for his old car.  Then, as soon as the local newspapers got wind of the story they printed George's sad plight and, yes, America responded.  

Money started pouring into the "Uncle George" fund.  The story was released on February 12th, and the next day George began receiving stuffed penguins and offers of assistance.  Then, on February 14th a fella from Sanderson Ford, a local Ford dealership drove up in front of George's house.  They brought George a 2003 low mileage Mercury Sable and handed George the keys. 

Well, George, Korean Vet, lost it.  Not one who cries much, he said he just couldn't hold it in....he said "I grew up poor on the south side of Chicago and anything you got you worked...this was just too much..unbelievable.

Meantime, back in Gilroy, George's fund raising nephew has his phone ringing off the hook, with so many donations that he couldn't keep his cell phone battery charged.  Then, as soon as he learned that George's car had been replaced with the new one, he put the word out to donors, offering to return their donations.  

No one wanted their money back so the funds raised will be used to help pay some of George's medical bills and insurance and aid in George's other expenses.

I believe George has gained more than a new car and a little money...I think old George has gained new insight on American kindness...he's been given a glimpse into America's heart...and he likes what he sees.

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