Community, Diversity, Sustainability and other Overused Words

Uplifting Holiday Stories During a Covid-depressed Christmas Season

What if someone paid down the money you owed for family Christmas presents? It happened for everyone at a Tennessee Walmart!

Feel-good stories are few and far between this Holiday Season due to the scourge of COVID-19 that has us locked down, safe-distancing and wearing masks. Whether your holiday of choice is Hannukah, Kwanzaa or Christmas, here are a few little uplifting events that occurred recently that just might lift your spirits:

Winning $5,000 on a scratch card lottery bet makes you lucky; getting an unexpected gift of $5,000 is a truly heartwarming experience, especially this time of the year. Just ask Gianna DiAngelo, a waitress at a restaurant in Broomall, PA, who says she was "stunned" when she saw that the folks at the table she served recently left her a $5,000 tip. As DiAngelo, a freshman studying nursing at Widener University, put it: "I'm just happy with anything ... I just couldn't even believe it. I'm going to put that money away toward college and pay it forward to do something good for other people."

And then there was the person who walked into a Walmart store in Bristol, TN one recent morning and shelled out nearly $65,000 to pay off the balances on all layaway holiday purchases on the store's books. At least one customer, Lloyd Leonard, who was notified that his layaway account had been paid off came forward to express his thanks. He said he was confused when he received an email from the store notifying him that he could pick up his purchase now that it was paid for by someone who wished to remain anonymous. He called the store and spoke to an employee. "She said, yeah, somebody came in this morning at 6 o'clock and paid everybody's layaway. But he wants me to tell you that he loves you, God bless you and Merry Christmas."

Finally, one more story that embodies the spirit of the season.

Dr. Joe Fitzgerald and his spouse, Elif, were packing up after attending this year's Denim and Diamond fundraiser that they sponsor annually in Pinellas County, FL. They had with them a suitcase filled with nearly a million dollars' worth of jewelry which they put into the trunk of their car and headed for home. Somehow the trunk opened up en route and the suitcase fell out. It landed in the middle of the road and was spotted by a motorcyclist who went to great lengths to make sure that the suitcase – and its valuable contents -- were returned to its rightful owners. As Dr. Fitzgerald put it: "He's our Christmas Angel. He not only found it. He also called 911 and made sure we got our jewelry back."


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