A 6-year-old boy's "joke stand," a man who clapped for 24 hours, and nurses and a patient who exchanged uplifting notes through a glass ICU window.
In seemingly unprecedented times, there's nothing more comforting than humans' impermeable dedication to making each other smile. Here's how some citizens in pandemic-stricken regions have uplifted their friends and neighbors with acts of kindness this week.
In solidarity with health care workers, a U.K. man live-streamed himself clapping for 24 hours straight.
- Location: London, United Kingdom
- Angel of the Week: Joe Peagam
- Act of Kindness: 24-hour clap, raises $10,000 for health care workers
In New York City, countless videos depict people hanging out of balconies or standing on their porches to clap in unison every night as a show of support for essential workers (since, you know, we can't leave our houses). New York is a densely populated city, so this doesn't work in all areas, but numerous neighborhoods around the world have adopted this uplifting (if not a little dystopian) routine to show our appreciation and help us feel that we are still together. Some neighborhoods even howl.
One man in the United Kingdom was really, really, committed. In fact, he was so committed that he was not content to clap for just the allotted period ritual at 8 p.m (as part of a campaign called Clap for Our Careers), but he insisted on doing so for 24 hours straight.
After announcing his effort in a GoFundMe campaign, Joe Peagam live-streamed the event on Facebook. With the help of over 400 donors, the campaign raised £8,085 (the equivalent of almost $10,000 U.S.) for NHS Charities Together, an association of Britain's National Health System Charities.
Peagam wrote in an update to his GoFundMe campaign:
"Well… I did it. I clapped for 24 hours straight. People told me it was physically impossible, or that I was crazy. Yes maybe I am a bit crazy lol, but I was determined to embrace the challenge... It was physically painful, mentally draining and exhausting, but if the NHS are working 24 hours a day to save us then clapping for 24 hours to raise money seemed a small price for what they do and see day and night."
A 6-year-old boy opened a "joke stand" to cheer up his elderly neighbors.
- Location: Saanich, British Columbia, Canada
- Angel of the Week: Callaghan McLaughlin
- Act of Kindness: Joke Stand
Instead of selling lemonade, a 6-year-old boy in British Columbia chose to freely dispense moments of happiness to his elderly neighbors. Callaghan McLaughlin of Saanich, British Columbia, set up a "joke stand" at the end of his driveway on Penrhyn Street, where it has been in operation for over a week, CBC News Canada reports.
"There's a lot of stress in the world," the boy said, "and I kind of want to get some smiles on people's faces."
McLaughlin opens his joke stand each morning at 10 a.m., takes a "lunch break," then comes back to work another shift in the afternoon. Callaghan and his mother (who clearly played a major role in this operation) said most people at least smile or wave.
"Some people need the money for groceries now instead of jokes," Callaghan said of the two's decision not to profit from much-needed humor in these pandemic times. "I want people to save their money for other things."
Many of the McLaughlins' neighbors are elderly, and his mother, who came up with the idea for the joke stand, says she really thinks these brief moments especially help that community.
“I think it helps them to feel a little more connected, because they’re one of our more isolated community groups,” the proud mother said. “It does bring a smile to people’s faces. It kind of reminds them of pre-pandemic times and kind of doing something fun.”
A COVID-19 patient exchanged notes with health care workers through a glass window.
- Location: Cleveland, Ohio, United States
- Angel of the Week: Nic Brown, Cleveland Clinic MICU health care workers
- Act of Kindness: Uplifting Notes from Isolation
At the Cleveland Clinic MICU in Cleveland, Ohio, 38-year-old IT worker Nic Brown was alone in an isolated room, breathing through a respirator, after contracting what he had originally thought was the flu. Since all COVID-19 intensive care patients are in isolation, Brown wasn't able to interact directly with those outside the room. He did, however, have a glass window, which he used to express a note of appreciation to the dedicated healthccare attendants outside (with the help of a nurse).
The clinic's "Patient Stories" says Brown and his nurses exchanged notes every day. The nurses would write positive notes on his frosted-glass window every day so he felt less alone, and he wanted to return the favor. Brown asked a nurse to help him write his message since he was too weak to do it.
“Every day I was there, especially when I was on a ventilator and full life support, the staff would write on the window the goals for me to try and reach each day,” he said. “They would encourage me. One day someone wrote, ‘We will get you home.’”
He says health care staff would also smile, wave, or flash thumbs-up signs as they walked past his window throughout the day.
As he was leaving intensive care, he asked a nurse to help him write a thank-you note goodbye.
“I watched you work hard to keep me and others alive, unable to thank you for the time that you poured into me—and although I will probably never get the chance to pour that same love and support into you, I want you to know that I think you all are rockstars," the note read.
“Part of why I left the note on the window is because I don’t know that I’ve ever seen such selfless people in my life... They don’t know me, but they cared for me like I was a member of their family. It’s been life-altering,” Brown said.
Brown has since been discharged and is now at home recovering with his wife and two children.
What's the most inspiring act of kindness you've witnessed this week? We're all working hard to stay positive during these difficult times, and a joke or a "thank you" can go a long way!
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- McDonald's Gives Free 'Thank You Meals' to Medical Workers
- Nike Designs News Specifically Outfitted for Healthcare Workers' Needs