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Monday, April 4, 2011

Generosity of Strangers

On Sunday my family and I went to Bob Evans at 130th and Brookpark Road. Those of you who know us will not think that is a big deal. After all, the month of March is busy for us. We are constantly visiting businesses that are selling shamrocks to raise money for the Muscular Dystrophy Association. It is our small way of saying thank you to those that raise money for kids like Jared and his MDA friends.
But this visit was different. I had received a call from the assistant manager, Mike. He was bound and determined to sponsor Jared and send him to camp this year. His store needed to raise $864.00 to achieve his goal. Mike issued a challenge to his employees. If they raised $1000.00 and exceeded their goal, he would shave his head. Well, the employees sold shamrocks like mad and they exceeded that goal!! Now, here is a man that has never met my family. They had a picture and a bio and they knew we lived in Brook Park but that is all. Mike never knew how important camp was to Jared. How this one week Jared could be "normal". Camp is a place where Jared can reach his full potential without the fear of friends saying he was weak, or he couldn't do it or laugh at his attempts. A place where encouraging words and celebrating small successes means the world to one child. No one can understand what camp means for my son and the thousands of others that go every year.
Mike didn't know. Yet he still raised money because he felt it was the right thing to do. He rallied his employees who do not have to care about Jared or sell the shamrocks.
So on Sunday we went to meet this man who is now one of my hero's. We watched as Dave Maldonado from Equinox salon in North Olmsted, took his own time out to come and shave his head. We watched as the employees took pictures and called out to make it a mo hawk. You could tell this was a family not just a place to work.
We were amazed as some guy gave us a check for Jared. Apparently he was a regular who had already bought tons of shamrocks. And he gave again when he had already done more than a lot of people. The check will go towards CMT research as part of our fundraising for the MDA walk we will be part of.
Jared does not realize or understand yet. He is starting too but he is too young to understand that in a world of weariness, cynicism, negativity there are rays of light shining from people that banish the darkness and make us forget that the world can be a cruel place. Light that gives us hope and peace. So whatever you do in life, remember that people will see your light and be inspired. No matter how softly it glows.

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