By Morgan Cook (’22)
The words “Coronavirus” echo all over our country right now. It is all anyone is talking about. All anyone is concerned about, and seems to be all that is happening anywhere. For confusion and worry is normal when facing something that is entirely new and frightening to anyone and everyone alive today. And although negativity is all around us, there have been many people who have used this time of sorrow to bring great acts of kindness upon people – often total strangers. Today, we take the time to recognize two acts of positivity of very different kinds but all coming from the heart.
First up, Ryan van Emmenis, an English father of three, decided to use the opportunity of quarantine walks to make a change in his community by cleaning the headstones in local cemeteries that have begun to deteriorate. In Winsford, Cheshire, Emmenis got his inspiration after his friend used social media to display a picture of a family member’s headstone that was neglected and worn-down. Owning a cleaning company, Emmenis decided to clean the stone free of charge. After this one action, he then decided to use his twenty minutes of daily walking to do the same for other grave markers in his town with his children. So far, he has cleaned two dozen stones in two different cemeteries. Also taking advantage of social media to post his progress, he has received praise from many – including family members of some of the deceased. Emmenis declared that “When a grave is dull and it’s got algae on it and you can’t read it, there’s nobody seems to give it much time if they don’t know the person…Once you’ve cleaned up one of these graves, it’s really noticeable, which means people are stopping and taking a moment to read and remember these people.”
Another act of kindness was from the company Lowe’s. Lowe’s realized that Mother’s Day might be lonely for mothers living in senior living homes with restrictive quarantine measures. Therefore, they decided to partner with local nurseries in order to send flowers to these mothers. Leading up to this holiday, Lowe’s called Uber in order to have a million dollars worth of flower baskets delivered to over five hundred different senior living homes and long-term care facilities in ten different cities across the country. Each basket carried a note of appreciation as well. Also taking this time to try to help the economy, Lowe’s procured the baskets from growers and nurseries all over the nation that have gone through slower/ceased operations since the quarantine began. On top of this, Uber drivers who delivered the flowers were impacted through the earnings they received. This all took part in the $250 million promise to the relief of COVID-19 that Lowe’s announced. Marketing and chief brand officer Marisa Thalberg claimed that “Mother’s Day is a special time of celebration between mothers, grandmothers and their children, and our hearts go out to the millions of families nationwide who won’t be able to be with their loved ones this year.”