David Bruce: Good Deeds Anecdotes

In the mid-1970s, New York City occasionally suffered electricity blackouts. Vernon R. Alden was in NYC for a Colgate-Palmolive Board Meeting when one such blackout occurred. He attended a play, and in the middle of it the lights went out and an usher announced, “New York is completely blacked out. I suggest that you leave the theater and make your way back to your hotel or wherever. Navigating by the headlights of vehicles, Mr. Alden walked back to his hotel: the Waldorf Towers. His room was on the 30th floor, and with the elevators not working, he decided to walk up the stairs to get to his room instead of staying in the hotel lobby. He met an old, fragile lady around the 15th floor. She was crying, and he asked, “May I help you?” She replied, “Yes. Could you assist me to my room?” In his book Presidents, Kings, Astronauts, and Ball Players: Fascinating People I Have Known, Mr. Alden wrote, “I picked her up and carried her step-by-step another twenty-seven floors to her suite at the top of the Towers. Arriving there, she thanked me profusely and identified herself as Mrs. Douglas MacArthur.”

In 2013, at a fast-food restaurant in Cupertino, California, an employee is working at the drive-thru. As usual, the employee says,“Hi. Welcome to [restaurant]; what can I get for you today?” The customer asks, “Are … are you a recording?” The employee replied, “Yup. I’m absolutely a prerecorded message to take your order and make your day just a little brighter!” The customer ordered and then drove to the payment window, where the employee asked, “Am I a recording?” The customer laughed and said, “Sorry. You were just so chipper that we thought you were a recording!” The employee replied, “It’s no problem. I’ve been up for three hours already, and I’m loaded up on caffeine! Anyway, your order comes out to [total].” The customer then asked, “Okay. So, if I drive off right now, do you get to keep the change?” The employee said, “Umm … That hasn’t happened before, so … maybe?” The customer then said, “Okay. Well, have a great day, then!” and drove away, leaving the employee a $15 tip.

On 8 January 2014, Lalo Nunez-al-Faisal, age 5, of Ames, Iowa, donated his “Give” money to the Ames Public Library to replace lost children’s books. How much money? Lalo said, “Lots of money. Quarters, one dollar.” He had saved the money in a “Give” jar, and he donated all of the money he had saved: $18.59. On Facebook, the library wrote, “For the last year he has been saving part of his chore money and decided to give it to the library to replace lost children’s books. What a kind thing to do! Thanks, Lalo, for being a super star.” Lalo’s mother, Jehan Faisal, said, “I think that maybe we had a book fall in the snow or something, and he was worried about books.” Lalo earned a quarter a chore; chores were such things as picking up his toys. Lalo said this about books: “They’re fun to read.” Lalo’s sister also had a “Give” jar. She donated her money to the Ames Animal Shelter.

On 2 March 2014, the 86th Academy Award (Oscar) ceremonies took place on live TV. Ellen Degeneris was the host, and she ordered a Big Mama’s & Papa’s pizza, which was delivered by Edgar Martirosyan, who had expected to deliver the pizza backstage — not on international TV. He said that Ms. Degeneris “said, ‘Just follow me,’ and I’m going and I’m on a stage. I was in shock.” The following day, Mr. Martirosyan appeared on Ms. Degeneris’ daytime talk show, and she gave him his tip: $1,000. On The Ellen DeGeneres Show, he said that he was excited to see Julia Roberts in the Oscars audience: “She was like my woman in dreams. I always watched her movies … it was something crazy — crazy to me to deliver.” When giving him his tip, Ms. Degeneris said, “I passed a hat around, and I ended up getting about $600, something like that. Here’s some more. Here’s a thousand dollars, so you have a total of a thousand dollars.”

In July 2014, the Tempe, Arizona, band The Black Moods toured throughout Texas. While getting gasoline in Tyler, Texas, they found a woman’s wallet on top of a gas pump. The woman had been travelling from Seattle, Washington, to Austin, Texas, and her wallet was filled with cash and credit cards. Lead singer Josh Kennedy said, “It was like a challenge for us, like ‘let’s get this lady her goods back,’ you know.” By using Facebook, they located her and were able to give her wallet to her father in Austin, Texas. Her father said, “You guys, you have no idea how deeply I appreciate this.” He added, “That is so awesome, I literally before I contacted you guys spent the last two hours on the phone with her just crying hysterically, I told her to stop, we’ll figure it out.” Mr. Kennedy said, “Money’s tight, but we’re firm believers in karma, so the last thing we need when we’re out on the road is bad vibes coming our way.”

In the summer of 2014, the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge became popular as a way of raising money for and awareness of the neurodegenerative disease amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, which is also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. In this challenge, celebrities dump a bucket of ice water on their heads and then often challenge three other celebrities to accept the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. Sir Patrick Stewart, best known for his roles in Shakespeare, Star Trek: The Next Generation, and the X-Men movies, accepted the challenge but modified it to a more dignified version. His video, in which he does not speak, shows him writing a check to the charitable organization ALS Association and then taking ice from an ice bucket, putting it in a glass, pouring liquor into the glass, and then drinking the liquor. Sir Patrick is 74 years old, and this is a healthy — and classy — version of the Ice Bucket Challenge.

“What wisdom can you find that is greater than kindness?” — Jean Jacques Rousseau


Copyright by Bruce D. Bruce; All Rights Reserved



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