Good news needs help: tell your friends!

October 30, 2014

Hello and welcome to another summary and publishers notes for HeroicStories published in the last few weeks.

Good news doesn’t spread itself!

It’s a fact of life that sensational stories of the bizarre, horrific and unbelievable seem to to take on a lives of their own. The very concept of “going viral” gives these kinds of stories the characteristics of life forms … viruses. They seem to be able to replicate themselves across the news media, social media and through people’s inboxes with ease.

Not so with stories of ordinary people doing and being everyday heroes. Those stories take an extra push to get out to the masses. We need to remind not just ourselves but the people we interact with of HeroicStories fundamental premise: people are basically good, and the there are good people doing good things around us every day. It may not be news-worthy, but it’s worthy of our attention to act as a much needed balance against the stream of negativity we’re inundated with.

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On to the stories published recently:

Through the Passage

A story of a dying man, bad weather and neighborly compassion when relief was unable to arrive.

John P. commented: “I truly admire these people. I especially like the closing comments where it says that caring for the dying at home used to be the norm, rather than the exception. I have to wonder if people really know how to care these days like our grandparents did.” I’m here to tell you that they do. Having lost both of my parents in the last dozen years – one at home, one in a nursing home, and both peacefully – I can tell you that there absolutely people who know how to care. I experienced it first hand.

Steve adds: “I lost my wife of 30 years about 10 years ago. At home, in her own bed. Surrounded by all those that mattered. Nothing we faced was anything like these what good folks had to deal with, but I can attest to the immense value of “Just Being There”. Over many months of her illness, friends, coworkers and people from our church cooked for us, held our hands, talked, read and were “Just There”. Don’t underestimate the value of your face. You don’t need to know what to say, or what to do. Just help them to Keep in touch. I am deeply indebted to those who served us then, and I cherish the times I get to pay it back, or forward, anytime I can. It is a Joy, even in sadness.” Death is difficult for many people, and knowing what to do is always a concern. As you say, just being there can often be the greatest gift of all.

And finally PrincessFiona60 says: “Working in End-of-Life, I meet many people like these in this story. Love and Compassion abounds in our neighbors.” And thank you for your work in what I know is a difficult situation.

Mike the Cabbie

A cabbie breaks the stereotype and becomes more than a driver but a friend for life with a disadvantaged young man.

I love it when we get an update to our re-posted stories, and this is one of those times:

The Sister added a comment: “Just a follow-up to this story: Mike has retired, but he still goes to my brother’s every Tuesday so they can spend the day running errands, taking the dog to the dog park, and just ‘setting things right’. When the story was first published I printed it out and gave it to him, and heard later that his wife cried when she read it, and his children were shocked this story was about their dad. Never a braggart, they had no idea how appreciated he is by his many clients (I recall he used to have a few older clients he would assist on a weekly basis, as well) Everyone is still doing very well, and we are all still incredibly thankful for everything we have.”

Ya know … sometimes the follow-ups hit me even harder than the original story. Thank you for sharing.

The Plowman

An anonymous plow operator touches the hearts of two children simply by preserving their work, and their refuge.

Kelly Boyd comments: “Delightful! How could this man have known the joy his act brought, to the children and vicariously to all of us? To do that, with no thought of personal reward or benefit, is the very essence of humanity.”

Phyllis Bala says: “Aww, what a wonderful gift for a man to give to the children…caring, appreciation, respect and love. All of his thoughtfulness, considerations and protective energies brought such joy and laughter to help heal deep wounds of the children. How fortunate for the little girl that her brother still allowed her to share his healing connection to nature and the beauty and safety of his imagination. Sweet children.”

And with another follow-up, the author responded: “Thank you for this and your understanding. Your perspective is so poignant since my older brother passed away this year. This is one of my fondest memories of him.” Thank you for sharing your story, and your brother, with us all.

Yukon Dinner for Five

A local family aids another on the way to Alaska with an unexpected meal and hospitality.

Sidney says: “My wife is that kind of person. We live in a very remote tiny community in the Northwest Territories. It is fly-in only (no roads). Previously we lived in a similar community in Nunavut on the Arctic Ocean. My wife is a very kind person. We are teachers in a very little school. Children used to be hungry. No longer when school is on. My wife feeds everyone.” You’re a lucky man, Sidney. 🙂

Jake comments: “Such a heartwarming story! My faith in humanity has suffered such a blow as of late… Heroic Stories serves to remind me that there is still good in this world! Thank you!!” It’s why we’re here, Jake. It’s why we’re here.

Johanna Meyer-Mitchell shares: “In December 2005, my husband was in the ICU. Nineteen long days over the holidays, which ended when we took him home to hospice care. He actually got better and graduated from hospice, eventually getting a liver transplant; however, on Christmas Day he was in a coma and expected to die. It wasn’t strangers: in those days my church was doing Christmas dinners for anyone who wanted to come, and they delivered to homes. They delivered Christmas dinner to the ICU waiting/family room, and my family was able to have Christmas dinner (in shifts, as someone was with my husband all the time). My church women’s group also decorated my home for Christmas; I got out the boxes but I had neither the time nor the energy to put anything up. I am grateful to belong to a church family that helps each other, and those we don’t even know.”

How Could She Tell?

With headlights dimming andsnow falling a family travelling at night receives help, and more, from a local woman who seemed to know just what they needed.

Terza Ekholm comments: “This is a beautiful story. Although I couldn’t answer how she knew, I have experienced and seen similar situations where help just comes through in the most amazing ways. Consider also the possibility that she had been looking for a way to help someone, to pay back, to pay forward, or whatever, and you showed up! There are many sides to even just one story, and not even the participants will get to know them all. It is simply delicious to know this.”

Ginnie adds: “Love this….with all of the horror stories you hear on the news these days it renews my faith in people.” Then HeroicStories is achieving its goal.

Matthew Sails

Children set an example of patience and understanding that all of us could learn from.

Eerk Hofmeester shares: “Touched again by this story. It’s telling I remember it, even after 15 (fifteen…?!) years. I think the lump in my throat is mainly caused by our (i.e. the fortunate, healthy) attitude towards the ‘others’ (i.e. less fortunate, disabled, etc.). And then comparing that to what Matthew’s classmates, all in the later category in our view, are able to do: show respect, understand differences, know when to put yourself aside and let the other take his time. Indeed, as the author writes, the world would be a much better place if we all acted as they do.”

Bill Roche comments: “I could not agree more with the last sentence, ‘ If only the rest of the world were able to learn the same lessons. ‘ This world would be a far, far better place.” And I couldn’t agree more with your agreement.

Michael George shares a longer story: “I had a similar experience when my son, Gregory entered 2nd grade many years ago. …” Continue reading her comment here. It’s a similar, heartwarming story and another example of children not accepting limitations we often assume.

More from Leo & New stories

I ended up moving “Matthew Sails” to the head of the line when I received an email last week from the author asking where this story had gone. It had been an example story on the old website, but after the redesign it had simply gone back in the archives of stories that we’re pulling from as HeroicStories restarts. As it was obviously important to the author I’m very glad to have been able republish it quickly.

If you have a favorite story from HeroicStories’ past, drop me a line. We have several weeks queued ahead, but if there are stories that particularly tickle your memory I’d love to be able to pull them out and republish them sooner rather than later.

Yes, I do have some new stories – thank you to those that submitted them! It’ll take just a bit to get the editing and production in process but look for those in the next couple of months.

The problem? I only got a handful. So if you’ve been holding on to that story of ordinary people being good and heroic, consider submitting it! We’d love to hear it.

As always, thanks again for being here,

Leo Notenboom