The Lovers & Fighters of America is a weekly column here at Ravishly featuring behind-the-scenes stories of inspirational people taking a stance against hate.
These brave warriors say "hell no" to racism, sexism, bigotry, and xenophobia. These men, women, and children are saying "heck yes" to equality, human decency, and love. From bold acts of advocacy to simple moments of goodness, these everyday people remind us of what it truly means to be American.
These lovers and fighters are resistant in the face of intolerance. They are bold in the presence of judgment. They are determined to join forces (or to stand proudly alone) to ensure their message is heard: #LoveTrumpsHate.
This week, we’ve decided to highlight some of the stories that made our hearts smile this holiday season. These shining rays of hope and moments of genuine kindness are the stuff that keep us moving in a positive direction. As always, the message is #LoveTrumpsHate, because human connection and compassion for others is how we heal and grow stronger, together.
5. Teenagers Make a Classmate’s Day with Kind Gesture.
San Antonio High School kids captured the true spirit of giving last week.
JR Gilbert, a sophomore at Somerset High School in San Antonio Texas, was given an unexpected surprise last week. Gilbert told his classmates his shoes didn’t fit, and sure enough his size-13 feet were crammed into a pair of size-10.5 boots. His peers, not wanting their friend to do without shoes that fit, decided to fundraise and buy Gilbert some new shoes.
The video of the gift opening was shared by Somerset HS’s Facebook page and has since gone viral, for all the right reasons. Watch the video and see JR Gilbert’s priceless reaction to the thoughtful gifts from his classmates.
4. A Moment of Compassion Gives Great Comfort.
A stranger stopped to console a crying woman, amidst the hustle and bustle of Black Friday shopping.
While out shopping early on Black Friday, Angel Mott of Des Moines, Iowa, got a devastating phone call that left her brokenhearted. Her 57-year-old mother had died, suddenly, from a stroke while at work. When Mott heard the news, she immediately dropped to the floor in uncontrollable tears. She was alone in a busy retail store, yet a stranger soon arrived by her side. The two women hugged and cried together.
The kind stranger then assisted Mott out of the store and into her car. “The hug meant the world to me. It made me feel like people still cared,” said Mott, who took to a local Facebook group in search of the person who had shown her such compassion. Luckily for Mott, someone in the group knew Stephanie Uhlenberg, the woman who had helped her and the women were reunited.
USA Today shared a video of this heartwarming story of human connection in a time of sorrow.
3. Sick Children & Their Families Get Top Priority.
The owner of a Connecticut sweet shop has helped raise millions of dollars for sick kids and their families.
Al DiGuido is the owner of Saugatuck Sweets, an ice cream and sweet shop with two locations in Connecticut. He didn’t know anything about the ice cream business (other than that he liked to eat ice cream) when he opened up shop, but he wanted to do something to support his local community with the idea of creating a small town, community-minded environment that was inclusive and friendly.
Al is also the founder of a charity called Al’s Angels, founded in 2002. The charity helps children with cancer, rare blood diseases, and severe financial hardship. This holiday season, Al’s Angel’s will be feeding meals to 3,200 families, and 10,000 kids will receive a toy for Christmas.
Learn more about Al’s sweet shop, his charity, and his giving spirit:
2. A Kind Heart, & A Lot Of Savings, Puts A Smile On Many Young Faces.
A hospital cafeteria employee saved $5,000 from her wages this year, with the sole purpose of buying toys for sick kids at the hospital where she works.
There were smiles all around at Advocate Children’s Hospital in Oak Lawn, Illinois last week. Children and staff were blown away by the kindness and generosity of one of their own fellow staff members: 54-year-old Jessie Tendayi, who works in the cafeteria. According to the Chicago Tribune, Tendayi saved up all year and spent nearly $5,000 of her own money to buy 1,300 toys.
For the past 8 years, this generous woman has been saving money and buying toys for the sick kids at the hospital at Christmastime. This year marked her biggest contribution yet. Hear what motivates Jessie Tendayi in this video, shared by Advocate Children’s Hospital Facebook page.
1. Kindness Breeds More Kindness.
She’d just lost her own job, due to funding cuts. But when Karly, a kindhearted young woman from Albuquerque, met a hungry man without a warm coat, she did what she always does. She helped him.
Karly came across the man in need outside a grocery store. She bought him a cooked rotisserie chicken and gave him a warm coat from her car. Karly then went grocery shopping for her own food, with one chicken’s worth less in her already tight budget. When she got to the counter to pay, the man behind her said he’d seen what she’d done for the man outside. He told her he’d been inspired by her acts of kindness and he then paid for her groceries.
Ede Ericson, Karly’s mom, shared the story on Facebook and, unsurprisingly, it went viral. Ericson told Ravishly, “Karly continues to offer kindness to strangers, like making soup for a couple who lost their home in a fire. She took it to them and then stayed while they had supper and cleaned up for them afterward. She travels with an extra coat in the car, just in case.
She is always looking for someone who might need something. She is an amazing woman. She has a young son (just over a year old) who is growing up with a shining example of what it means to be a loving human in the world.” Which is why we have chosen Karly as our Number One inspirational person for Ravishly’s Lovers & Fighters of America column this week.
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