A few weeks ago, I noticed I was becoming increasingly distracted by, frustrated with and anxious about the state of the world. With a non-stop barrage of headlines about divisive politics and angry people, I made a decision. Rather than going down (and staying down) the rabbit hole of negativity, I started to focus on regular people who do good things to help others and bridge divides. I knocked on my neighbor’s door and asked if I could take her picture. She doesn’t use Facebook; in fact she doesn’t even own a computer. I wrote a short narrative about how she spends her time, and I popped it up on Facebook. The response was immediate. So I kept going. You can find all of my profiles at http://peopledogoodthings.org, and feel free to nominate others. #peopledogoodthings
Here’s the original Facebook post:
#1 is my neighbor Mary. She is 83 years old and she’s from the tiny town of Grand Bay, AL. When she was 22 she joined the Air Force as a nurse and traveled the world for five years before she got married. She never had kids. She‘s been a widow for more than 25 years.
She lives very modestly and recycles every single thing she uses, even if she has to drive across town to do so. Here’s her weekly schedule:
Sunday: church at University Baptist
Monday: delivers Meals on Wheels and volunteers at the Austin Retirement Complex (playing dominoes with the senior citizens to keep them entertained)
Tuesday: volunteers at the Old Bakery, a nonprofit senior citizen consignment store housed in an historic building near the state capitol
Wednesday: volunteers at her church to do the mail-out to shut-ins and visitors
Thursday: volunteers for the International Friendship meeting at Hyde Park Baptist. She picks up two Indian women who don’t have cars and takes them to the meeting. She used to drive the church van and picked up 17 women of all nationalities and faiths until the church told her, at age 81, that their insurance policy said she was supposed to stop driving at 65
Friday: recently stopped volunteering at Brackenridge Hospital
Saturday: day off
In this picture she is propping up on the stair railing, but when she walks she is completely stooped over due to her Parkinson’s. She also loves Humphrey Bogart.
I want to be more like Mary.