Monday, November 21, 2005


as its nearly thanksgiving i thought i would just share this little story..its taken from 'Chicken Soup for the Soul' which is a terrific book and thought it was relevant to this weeks festivities, i hope you think so too...

Todd Zimmerman was not altogether happy to be working on Thanksgiving Day. As one of a skeleton staff of five manning the State of Maryland's EBT Help Desk (the state's alternative to food stamps), the morning seemed to stretch on. As lunchtime approached, it was hard not to fantasize about the feast his family was preparing, and the laughter and stories that would be told. Before his lunch break, a call came in from an elderly woman who was obviously distressed. "I was at the grocery store buying food, but my purchase didn't go through!" she said. "The clerk said the transaction was denied." Todd knew the questions to ask, and it wasn't long before he diagnosed the problem: the woman's temporary card had expired. Apparently she hadn't understood that she needed to obtain a permanent card. "Oh, but...but I hadn't collected my $10 from October either! I purposefully left it on account to put together with this $10 for a Thanksgiving dinner." "I'm sorry," Todd said sympathetically. "Do you have any food in the house?" "No...not really, I was saving up for today, you see. My family thought they were going to be able to come, and I wanted to have a nice meal for them. But something came up, and they can't make it." There was a catch in her voice. "I guess it's just as well." After she hung up, Todd couldn't get her off his mind. He realized that because of the error this woman, whom he knew only as "Mrs. B," would not only be alone, she'd also go hungry on Thanksgiving Day, all for want of $20. Determinedly, Todd called the grocery store where the woman's transaction had been denied, his own credit card at the ready. Sorry, they said, no phone orders. And they didn't deliver, and couldn't make an exception today of all days. They also had a skeleton crew and more customers than they could handle. Lunchtime came. Todd suddenly didn't care that he was eating cafeteria food. Two of his coworkers, Kim Twito and I, took lunch with him, and together we vowed to do whatever we could to solve Mrs. B's problem. Back at the help desk, we let our compatriots, Julie Simon and Mark Liessmann, in on the dilemma. Working together, we felt we could surely staff the phones while finding a Thanksgiving dinner for Mrs. B. Unfortunately, by then, virtually every grocery store in Mrs. B's county was closed or closing. None would deliver. Exhausting the Yellow Pages, one of our coworkers thought of Chesapeake Beef, a grocery store with which EBT had a high volume of business and a good relationship. Chesapeake Beef was closed for Thanksgiving. "The owners, Stas and Mary Witezak, are very nice people," I said. "They might know of a local store that's open. I bet they wouldn't mind if I called them at home, even if it is a holiday." "I'm sorry," said Mary, "I can't think of any open stores. But you know what? I have a better idea. It sounds like Mrs. B lives about 15 miles from here. We've finished our dinner, but we still have plenty left! Let us bring Thanksgiving to her. I'll put the kids to work making a special card while Stas and I get together a meal. Oh - but please let her know someone is coming. We're unexpected strangers, and we don't want to frighten her." This was easier asked than accomplished. EBT didn't have Mrs. B's phone number, which was unlisted. However, the telephone operator was willing to call Mrs. B and ask her to return a call to Todd at the Helpline. When a confused Mrs. B called back, Todd simply told her that friends were coming with a surprise. Several hours later, Stas Witezak called in. "Thanks so much for giving our family the opportunity to make a difference in someone's life," he said. "Mrs. B very much appreciated the food, but what really touched her were the cards the children made. She nearly cried when she read them. Her response was to ask if she could hug them - and they happily let her." Mrs. B called back, too. She thanked everyone involved in her Thanksgiving surprise. When our shift ended, the five of us who had reluctantly come to work that Thanksgiving bade each other farewell with a smile. Though we didn't say it, we were all recalling Mrs. B's words: "I've always been a Christian - but now I know for sure there is a God!" "Happy Thanksgiving!" said Todd as we parted ways. And in fact, it had been the happiest Thanksgiving of all.

Yes..i know its a bit slushy but the sentiment is right..and i know that in england we don't celebrate thanksgiving but we should do, we should all be thankful for something in our lives.

The next bit is really cool...a friend called Mary sent me this and its one of the most useful emails I have tells the story itself...

"During a BBQ a friend stumbled and took a little fall. She assured everyone that she was fine (they offered to call paramedics) and just tripped over a brick because of her new shoes.

They got her cleaned up and got her a new plate of food - while she appeared a bit shaken up, Mary went about enjoying herself the rest of the evening.

Mary's husband called later telling everyone that his wife had been taken to the hospital. At 6:00pm, Mary passed away.
She had suffered a stroke at the BBQ. Had they known how to identify the signs of a stroke, perhaps Mary would be with us today.It only takes a minute to read this-A neurologist says that if he can get to a stroke victim within 3 hours he can totally reverse the effects of a stroke...TOTALLY!!. He said the trick was getting a stroke recognized, diagnosed and getting to the patient within 3 hours which is tough.RECOGNIZING A STROKE:Thank God for the sense to remember the "3" steps. Read and Learn!Sometimes symptoms of a stroke are difficult to identify.Unfortunately, the lack of awareness spells disaster. The stroke victim may suffer brain damage when people nearby fail to recognize the symptoms of a stroke.Now doctors say a bystander can recognize a stroke by asking three simple questions:1. *Ask the individual to SMILE.2. *Ask him or her to RAISE BOTH ARMS.3. *Ask the person to SPEAK A SIMPLE SENTENCE (Coherently) (i.e...It is sunny out today)If he or she has trouble with any of these tasks, call paramedics immediately and describe the symptoms to the dispatcher.After discovering that a group of non-medical volunteers could identify facial weakness, arm weakness and speech problems, researchers urged the general public to learn the three questions. They presented their conclusions at the American Stroke Association's annual meeting last February. Widespread use of this test could result in prompt diagnosis and treatment of the stroke and prevent brain damage. "

there...thats my good deed for today...have a lovely week...we may have a review of Motorhead tommorow so its sex drugs and rock and roll all the way!
Neil x


Anonymous said...

Nothing wrong with a bit of slush now and then. Hope you are offering a similar service to all callers tonight! Gx

Anonymous said...


Before you offer that personal service bear in mind the code of conduct that is crossing professional boundaries and we all know what happens then.

The advice from above is dont do it - its how others would percieve it that what counts. After all we are all human but some are more human than others.