I have done my best to keep my mouth shut about the tragedy in Sandy Hook Elementary School. No matter how I'd try to word it, I felt like I'd somehow be glorifying it. A couple weeks ago, I stumbled upon a lovely article about how Ann Curry wanted to do 26 random acts of kindness by Christmas to honor the 26 victims (children and teachers) of that horrific day. The hashtagged number spread like wildfire on the Twitter and Facebook feeds. I too, vowed to participate. I have a couple of conditions though.
My backstory: I've volunteered and done random acts of kindness for as long as I can remember. Its just the way I was raised. I don't keep tallies of what I do because I do these things without thinking about it. I assure you I'm not looking for an award or anything like that. But I need you to know this so you can understand why its taking me so long.
I decided that I would keep track of the specific #26 by doing something nice with a victim in mind...as if they'd be doing it themselves. I saw that I wasn't alone.
I haven't gone as far as xeroxing this sheet or tweeting...I've posted a couple of deeds on Facebook, but have decided to keep this blog updated instead. I've technically failed because I haven't done 26 recognizable things by Christmas aka I've done things but without thinking of someone in mind. Here's a few so far:
(due to some miscommunication, an actor was 3 hours late to a fitting. All parties involved were extremely angry, especially myself b/c he had already been rude on the phone) The next day on set:
#1--I made peace with the actor and even called his agent to bury the hatchet.
#1-1--I gave him an expensive dress shirt from my own collection to make said burying of the hatchet official
I highly doubt 6 year old Charlotte would've kept a grudge past the 1 day mark.
#2--our crew had a holiday raffle. winner got around $700. child, i was praying to Jesus and all that's holy that I'd win that money.
the Universe works in mysterious and beautiful ways. the crew member who won the raffle had lost his vintage ride to Sandy. insurance said it would cost more to salvage so they left it submerged in the garage. that car was this man's pride and joy. i wish you could've seen his face when he won.i don't know why but my soul keeps saying this counts as one of the #26. i'm not going to fight it.
Daniel, I hope you're proud.
I was planning to spend the day at the movies today. The goal was to spend no more than $20 on one ticket and a small popcorn and slither my way into 4 different screenings. EVERYTHING WAS SOLD OUT. Rather than go home, I decided to spend that $20 and see how many of the #26 I could do.
#3--bought a coffee and an egg sandwich for an ungrateful homeless person. I also put a dollar in his cup. Nothing was enough for him. At least he said thanks. Kinda.
Rachel, we're similar in age, so I'm hoping I reacted the way you would.
#4--bought another coffee and egg sandwich for a different homeless person. With tears in his eyes he said "thank you so much. God bless" and dove into the small meal. I put a dollar into his cup as well
Its as if he was thanking Olivia and not the haggard woman that stood before him.
I walked to Starbucks with the intention of buying a giftcard and a coffee. It turned into something else.
#5--I offerred to buy the gentleman behind me's order. He tried to fight it, but ended up giving in. I win :)
Mark: that's so kind of you. Do you do this regularly?
Me: I try
Mark: that's awesome. its so inspiring.
(his order was 2 coffees)
#6--(continued in Starbucks)
Me: Mark, can you do me one favor?
Me: will you take this $5 Starbucks giftcard and give it to a stranger? (I scribbled the words "$5 Starbucks from a stranger. I <3 u="u">3>
Mark: I promise
As I was leaving Mark's brother came up to me and thanked me for his coffee and gave me a hug. I whispered "Merry Christmas" into his ear and walked out with one more cup of coffee
Enjoy from Josephine and Ana!
#7--one last coffee was given to another homeless person who was so grateful, he said that I'd turned his Christmas beautiful.
That's for you, Dylan.
#8--helped a very small man get his very large bicycle through the subway gate. When we finally got it through, he wouldn't let me walk away until he looked me in the eyes and made sure I knew he was thankful.
I'm happy to help, knowing Dawn would've done the same thing.
#9--I've been getting spa services for the past 8 months thanks to Lifebooker. I've seen the same technician for every visit. Today's visit was a little off. I asked 'J' if she'd lost weight. She said no. I tried to make more small talk and asked how her Christmas went. She said that it was quiet. Later she opened up and said her boyfriend died. 'J' said she was aware she shouldn't talk about this to clients but she felt comfortable with me. I didn't press any further, as I could see it was still a fresh wound for her...and I was butt naked. If it would've been acceptable, I would've embraced her right then and there.
Once she finished my session, I got dressed and said this to her: "J, I know many people probably told you this, but I want you to know that I truly mean it, regardless if I'm your client. You have my number. You call me if you need ANYTHING. You want to yell, you want to cry, you just want someone to listen, call me. I'll do my best. Also, I am very aware you have been giving laser treatments without protecting your eyes. I just found out that my mom is going blind. As an artist, I cannot imagine what it would be like to lose my ability to see. You have total control over this situation and I'm telling you this b/c I obviously care."
J said she'll listen, though I dunno if she really will or not...she's got plenty of other things to deal with right now. Before she went to her next session, I stopped her and wrapped my arms around her. I tried very hard to pass off some positive energy in our embrace. I hope she got it.
It was a hug from 6 year old Madeline!
In case anyone is curious, I started out with $20 and am down to 2 cents. $20 was used on Acts 3-8 (12/25/2012)
#10--sent Christmas card to an ailing child whose dying wish is to set a world record for receiving the most Christmas cards ever. I signed my name and 6 year old Catherine V. Hubbard's as well.
#11--a friend surprised me with a tickets to see the Mummenschanz for Christmas. If you know me at all, you'll know I've been wanting to see them since I was a child. I was beyond elated. A couple of hours before the show, I got a text from another friend. We'll just call him Leo for now. He was distraught over what was happening with his grandmother. She had raised him but now with old age, her health is rapidly declining. I couldn't just leave him there. Afterall, Leo and I are very close; we just don't get to hangout since we are adults. Anyways, I invited him to come with us and paid for his ticket, then treated both of my friends to a peanutbuttery meal. I am including this because it was definitely random and I think 7 year old Chase Kowalski would've had a blast at the show.
#12--I have been volunteering regularly with New York Cares for Hurricane Sandy relief. I am a Team Leader and I take pride in leading groups to bring supplies and comfort to those who have been hit the hardest...or even worse: forgotten. For whatever reason, my group really liked me and applauded me and cheered me...what's there not to like, right? j/k...
I tried to focus some attention of my co-team leader, Lily but no one cheered for her. I didn't think that was fair. If it were me, I'd feel hurt. So I took her out to eat and thanked her for her hard work. 6 year old Jesse Lewis does too!
Today (01102013) was weird. I actually tried to resist doing any good deeds today. Not only was I being way human, but I was intentionally being selfish. Terrible. I don't know why. But, the #26 popped in my head yet again and I was able to pull through. Thank you, #26.
#13--An elderly gentleman came in the train with a cane. No one offered him a seat. I stared at him and I made a decision to make eye contact with him and not give up my seat. Why was I being such a jerk for no reason?! Finally, it was 6 year old James Mattioli who convinced me get up and give him my seat. Thanks James.
#14--I got off the train and a young man was in the station, smoking. He stopped me and asked if I'd swipe my card to let him onto the platform. I walked away, not making any eye contact with him. As I made my way towards the stairs, I felt a tug at my waist. I looked down. Nothing. No one. I felt it again. Still nothing. I knew who it was: 7 year old Grace McDonnell. I reluctantly turned around and told the guy to put out his cigarette and swiped him in. I know this was illegal...but he needed to get somewhere.
#15--I have been putting this list off for a bit because I don't have the best internet connection anymore and have to use the library's until something better comes along. I feel like I've been letting everyone down. I'm sorry. I had also made a list of the rest of my acts to type on here, and that list has now disappeared...so now I'm sort of having to start over from the beginning. Anyways, a homeless man had fallen asleep at a desk when his wallet fell on the floor. I assumed he'd notice but he never did. With the heart of 52 year old Anne Marie Murphy, I picked up the wallet and set it close to him.
#16--This older Hispanic lady was dragging her very heavy cart up a flight of stairs. With 6 year old Emilie Parker in my mind, I picked up the cart myself and got it to the top. I also explained to the lady in Spanish that she should use the elevator next time :)
#17--6 year old Jack Pinto was boomin' this day because I picked up this man's reading glasses and followed him for half a block to give them back! It was a little hard to get his attention.
#18--I attempted to give up my seat in the train to an elderly lady with a cart, but a woman and her child beat her to it. I gave some sort of look and they got up and sat somewhere else, pointing the open seat to the lady. Highfives, Noah Pozner, 6.
#19--I was about to walk upstairs from the subway platform, when I saw a woman with a desperate look on her face. Everyone passed her by. She stopped me and asked if I could help her carry her stroller up the stairs. "Of course," I said as I hoisted the big cart onto my arms and lugged it up the flight of stairs. Looks back and winks at 6 year old Caroline Previdi
#20--Its illegal, but I gave another person yet another swipe on my metro card... You're welcome, from Jessica Rekos, age 6.
#21--A smelly young man entered the subway car I was in. He was asking many folks for directions and no one would help him. He needed help getting to Jay st for court. I didn't judge him, nor did I question him. I simply told him to ride next to me. The ride was at least half an hour and we talked with each other like we were just catching up. He didn't hit on me, nor was I creeped out. When we got to his stop, we parted ways. Good luck, from Avielle Richman, age 6.
#22--On set one day, I overheard a production assistant named Wellington. He had actually moved here as a script supervisor but had to take jobs as a production assistant so he could provide for his family. I had a connection to a show that was currently looking for a script supervisor, so I had his coordinator anonymously forward it to Wellington from Lauren Russeau, 30 and me.
#23--I really love those cold, stale subway platform churros. In fact, I used to buy them everyday but due to a new diet and unforeseen financial woes, I've had to cut back. However, one of my last purchases was cut short because instead of enjoying the sugary goodness, I gave it to a hungry person asking for food. With love from Mary Sherlach, 56 and me.
#24--There are days when I don't want to give money to the church, simply because I cannot afford to. Lately I have been pushing myself to just do it and assume everything will be fine. Thank you, 27 year old Victoria Soto. You've taught me a great lesson.
#25--My mentor, Mike had a birthday but had to work. I felt bad for him because he already works so hard. So I dressed up as a mini-version of him. Hilarity ensued. Kudos, Benjamin Wheeler, 6.
#26--I helped my other mentor clean up a flood. We stood ankle deep in doodoo water. I was in my favorite silver high tops. I had just gotten a fresh manicure. I'm a germaphobe. But I could not bare to leave him to clean it all. "This is love", I told myself over and over again as I scrubbed myself clean for 4 hours after getting my hands dirty from the nastiness of the flood. Thanks for giving me a heart, Allison N. Wyatt, age 6.
CONCLUSION: it took me way longer to finish this. I do nice things everyday, because as a human being, I was raised to help others. It was so hard however, to do this without the goal of filling a quota; to have a pure heart about it and just remember to write it down as opposed to thinking "oh man I need just a few more nice things and I can finally cross off this name on my list". I hope that makes sense...and I hope you will not stop doing good and that you do not rely on a list to ensure that. Peace be with you.