Acts of umbrellas... Sounds peculiar doesn't it?
Thursday at work we found out that Good Neighbor Pharmacy had made a donation to help with #26acts.
The #20acts movement started this weekend after the tragedy in Sandy Hook and NBC correspondent Ann Curry posted on Twitter "Imagine if everyone went out and committed to 20 acts of kindness for everyone child lost in Newtown?" This soon turned into #26acts to include the adult victims as well.
Many people have taken to social media with their philanthropy and paying it forward. I was chosen to be the bearer of 26 umbrellas to give to people out in the cold rain.
Photographer Brian Holt and I chatted about where we should go and who we could help. A lot of ideas were floating around as co-workers piped in as to where they might go. We decided to get in the car and just go.
We saw a person, but it wasn't raining and that might be weird. I was a little upset that there was a lull in the rain, then as we drove by UT it started to rain a little, and one guy by the bus stop looked a little down trodden, but it wasn't to be. Then as we headed to the strip we decided that we should head over to the hospital.
Yes, there would be someone that might have been in a rush and forgotten their umbrella. So armed with a green bag and a wireless mic, we walked along the sidewalk looking for someone who needed a smile and an umbrella.
When we arrived I noticed a car door slightly open and I said to Brian, "My first deed is to close that door so that their car is dry and safe when they come out." Then we were off.
Boom. There he was-- a man with a cane, hands full heading toward his car. I just walked up along side of him, and said "hello" and offered to cover him as we walked toward the car.
I asked if he was ready for the holidays, then he asked me why I was walking him to his car. I just said that it looked like he needed a little shelter from the rain that had now decided to fall. He then asked if this was part of that 26 do something nice for people thing he had seen on the news. I affirmed that it was, and he said he was hoping to find something he could do to help.
We then talked about his son and his plan for Christmas day-- he'll be watching football with his son. He got into his car and I offered him the umbrella. He wished me a Merry Christmas, and off I went.
I should note that I was wearing my Channel 10 raincoat and that there was a photographer somewhere near me. He did not notice either.
So off I went to find the next person.
It took a little time, and you can't just run up to people. I don't want to scare them; I'm trying to be nice.
Next we found a few ladies. One of them didn't really want the umbrella because she was getting a ride. I told her I picked that one out to match her sassy self, then I went on my way.
The next person made me stop for a second. His face when I offered him the umbrella in the rain said 'no thank you.'
I said "Please take the umbrella," and he had this perplexed look on his face. You know the look, like he was asking "what's the catch? Why is this woman standing in the pouring rain without an umbrella handing me hers?" Then he smiled and walked away.
Then another man with a cane came by and I asked him where he was going. He responded that he was heading to catch a bus.
I said, "Well, let me walk with you for a minute." I then asked how he was doing, and he told me that his feet hurt and the doctor was trying to help him and he wasn't ready for Christmas and he was born in Knoxville and he is 85 years old. I said "You don't look a day over 75," and he laughed.
I am typing all of this not to tell you that I handed a man an umbrella for an assignment. It is that we took a few minutes to show you the faces of the people who received a kind act. It could have been me giving them an umbrella or you paying bus fare. We just don't get to see faces and realize that one small act, even a small one, can brighten someone's day.
C'mon we have more umbrellas to give out. I missed a few people and I scared one woman... I think she thought we were going to ask her a hard hitting question. I just said "Nope, just an umbrella. Please take it, you are getting soaked."
Of course there was some entertainment on our mission. I offered to help a food delivery person with her load only to learn she wasn't sure where she was going, and at that point we were inside with food and umbrellas I couldn't just leave her. So I delivered lunch to a physician's office today.
Funny they never asked what I was doing, just that I could go "out that door, Sweetie."
So I went around and found Photographer Brian and we were on the move. Up the sidewalk I found a pregnant couple. I think the fellow was surprised when I offered him one as well.
We saw two gals trying to pay for their parking so I ran over there and they were actually people we had done a Darin' Erin with at Halloween. Not only did we give them umbrellas, we tried to help them with their parking. I probably should have just given them the umbrellas I don't think we actually helped with the parking machine.
One woman said she didn't want an umbrella and that her daughter was coming. One woman holding a young boy helping him walk said they didn't need one-- rain just made her walk faster.
The one woman with an orange Tennessee sweatshirt appreciated it and laughed when I told her it was sassy like her. The next woman just smiled and wished me a Merry Christmas.
One guy walking up the hill saw the camera and then me. He did not jump, he just looked at me then looked at the umbrella I had handed him to see if there was any writing on it. Then he thanked us and moseyed on along.
The next man had a jacket on, but didn't have an umbrella. We started to chat, and I gave him one of my umbrellas. He just looked at me then looked at the 10 on my jacket and told me he watches our station. I thanked him for watching and he thanked me for the umbrella.
We also gave an umbrella to a security guard, which he appreciated.
As my bag of umbrellas dwindled, we decided to try to find somewhere else to hand out the umbrellas. Then I saw a woman with a child in the foyer of one of the medical buildings. She said she had a long walk, so we gave her an umbrella and she was very thankful.