Normally my blogs are sports related and in a way this is about sports - a really good sport, in fact, and I don't even know her name. An anonymous lady from WI whose random act of kindness has led me into a movement to honor those 26 innocent victims from Newtown, Connecticut. It all started on a routine trip to the drive-thru at my local McDonalds...
Two days ago I had a most extraordinary experience - I was out running around at lunch and remembered I hadn't eaten yet so I decided to run through the drive-thru at McDonald's near Gurnee Mills Mall - I placed my order and when I drove up to the window to pay - the young man said, "that lady in front of you paid for your lunch" - and he handed me a note that she had written - this is the wording verbatim on the handwritten note - "In memory of the 26 victims in Newtown, CT. I am committing 26 acts of kindness. This is Act #1 in memory of James Mattioli. Please keep it going."
There was no signature on the note and after reading it I looked up and saw that the car had a WI license plate on it and as I looked forward I waved at the lady and she just waved back and drove off. If this doesn't give you pause today - then nothing will ever touch your heart. I nearly cried re-reading this note - it has made a deep impression on me and I hope everyone who reads this will carry on the acts of kindness as this beautiful lady from Wisconsin has done. We surely need it with all of the senseless violence that has been happening lately.
Since this occurred two days ago, I have started my own campaign to honor the memories of James Mattioli and all of the victims. I mention James because his name was on the note that set this all into motion and I've spent time in the interim finding out about James and this beautiful young child puts a face on the reality of what happened one week ago. I have also been contacted by one his family members via facebook and even though I'm not sure what her relation is to James, Cynthia Radley Mattioli wrote: "Thank you for sharing this story! Warmed my heart at this most difficult of times!"
I may not know how she's related but I can only imagine "this most difficult of times" and the long-term effect it will have on this family and all the others. So what are we to do about it? My campaign involves doing either 26 individual acts of kindness to memorialize all the victims, or to do a $26.00 donation to the cause of your choice and I would lean towards those that help children in some way. My two Chicago-based causes are Clearbrook and Girls in the Game - both offer wonderful services for children in Chicago and the suburbs. Can you imagine how much can be raised if all of your friends, co-workers and contacts each donated $26 to a cause? I can't think of a better way to memorialize the Newtown, CT victims. Helping other children out in their name, now that's the meaning of life.
I have already heard back from my friends at Girls in the Game and they have received some donations from this campaign. I would love to get more emails from them saying they have been inundated with donations and that Clearbrook gets inundated as well.
So to that wonderful, unknown woman from Wisconsin, you have passed on your random act of kindness and it worked. Let us stay the course and continue to be kind to one another not only during the holidays but all year long. The alternative is just too unbearable...
RIP James Mattioli... and all of the victims from Sandy Hook.
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