“Most people think that Americans are generous because we are rich. The truth is we are rich…because we are generous.” – Professor Claire Gaudiani

Perusing through my Ohio State University Alumni newsletter a couple of weeks ago I noticed a picture of someone whom I knew when we were students there. We first met when we had both signed up for ice skating during the winter quarter and we became good friends throughout our undergraduate years.

The caption under my old friend’s photo read: “1969 Graduate Donates Cancer Research Center.” It seems my old classmate, after a hugely successful real estate career, had donated a large amount of his own money to build a state-of-the-art cancer research center adjacent to the university’s hospital.

Then just this past week I saw that my friend, Ron Snider, and his staff had held a substantial fund raiser at their restaurant, Krause’s Café, and donated $25,000 for an operation for a three-year-old Ugandan girl with a congenital heart defect.

With no access to treatment in Uganda and a family without means to afford treatment anywhere else, the patrons of Krause’s Café decided to help the child receive the life-saving surgery she required.

According to an article in the New Braunfels Herald-Zietung (2/22/20), Krause’s General Manager Jeremy Rader noted that the iconic café and biergarten began fundraising on Feb. 1 and continued through Valentine’s Day. As he said, “Everyone kind of latched on and felt it was important we give back particularly during the month of February.” Then he added, “And what better way than giving the gift of a heart on Valentine’s Day?”

Well, there’s certainly no better way that I can think of, Jeremy.

In a time when there are so many issues and decisions that by their nature tend to pull us apart, how wonderfully surprising and refreshing it is to read about some of the goodness that people do and the kindness they exemplify.

Some years ago, popular and well-loved BBC announcer and radio personality Wilfrid Pickles observed: “If only we would take the spotlight off the horror and our shortcomings for a moment and glorify the people who remind us there is nobility in the human race that brings a bright light to the modern world.”

And although we may never hear of it, everyday hundreds, perhaps thousands, of men and women use their time, talents and resources to help those in need. In fact, it is my belief that is probably truer today than it has ever been.

In the midst of all the abject negativity and the nauseating news that continually bombards us making us want to crawl back into bed and hide under the covers, how refreshingly up-lifting it is to hear about people committing philanthropic good works.

While we’re all captured and often lost in the media jungle, it is surely the everyday behavior of ordinary people responding to the needs of others that gives us hope for our future.

It is the caring and thoughtful actions of my old ice-skating college buddy and the owners and patrons of Krause’s that deny the pockmarks of pessimism that attempt to rob us of our faith and our joy.

Commentator Pickles was right — acts of kindness and goodness demonstrate that the nobility of mankind still exists.

Mike Fitsko is a retired principal and longtime columnist from New Braunfels.

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