Steve Eighinger

'I read it, and literally, I ... cried'

By Herald-Whig
Posted: Jun. 16, 2020 12:01 am

Since the start of the pandemic, and more recently the nationwide protests that have centered around a greater sense of equality, this space has furloughed its "Morons of the Month" feature. In its place has been an ongoing offering of uplifting events and actions.

Here are the latest "medal-winning" events that have caught my eye:


Bronze medal

This is one example of how you make a difference.

A waitress, identified only as Hannah in Gainesville, Fla., recently surprised two customers by picking up their tab and writing a heartfelt note about equality, unity and the Black Lives Matter movement on their bill.

Tailor Stewart and Tellis Baker, both African-Americans, were shocked to find that the total sum for their meal had been scratched out to $0, an act that was first reported Fox News. There was also a note left on the back of the receipt.

"Black lives matter. I will personally be taking care of your food today. It's time we stand together," the handwritten message read. "You are all beautiful and amazing human beings who deserve the world and more. Equality is key."

"I read it, and literally, I ... cried," Stewart said.


Silver medal

The Denver Post recently reported a heartwarming story about a struggling 32-year-old hair stylist.

Illsia Novotny had been trying her best to make ends meet since the salon where she worked had closed during the COVID-19 coronavirus lockdown. The single mother had been forced to negotiate special arrangements for the rent and utility bills at her home in Aurora, Colo.

During one of first days back to work, an anonymous walk-in customer had Novotny for a haircut. As Novotny trimmed his hair, they chatted about baseball, Colorado, and the difficulties of making it through the quarantine.

After Novotny finished the job, the man settled his bill with Novotny -- but before he left the store, he said the following words:

"Just so you know, it's not a mistake," he said.

Minutes later, Novotny reported to others at the salon the man had tipped her $2,500. Not only that, he had given $500 to the receptionist, $1,000 to the general manager, and $1,800 to be divided amongst the shop's 18 employees.

Altogether, he left $5,800 in tips.


Gold medal

Stefan Perez may be just 16, but he is wise beyond his years.

Perez recently organized a peaceful protest march in downtown Detroit. The key word there was "peaceful."

Perez began with only 15 people, but more and more joined him until he found himself leading a large crowd. Most importantly, the teenager vowed to keep everyone in line, and get them back home safely.

At the end of the march, there had been no looting, fights or problems of any sort. Perez also urged the protesters to comply with the city's 8 p.m. curfew.

"I tried to keep everybody together, I tried to keep everybody as a collective group, and we marched," he told the Detroit Free Press. "I'm surprised people listened to me. I'm glad they did because they're not hurt right now."

Aware of what was unfolding, Detroit mayor Mike Duggan called on a friend's cell phone. Thee call wound up broadcast via speakerphone on Facebook Live.

"Son, I was watching the video and I saw your leadership," the mayor said. "I have tears in my eyes. You are everything that's special about the city of Detroit … We're going to fight this injustice because of people like you."

There's a right way to do things. And a wrong way.

Obviously, young Mr. Perez believes in the former.