When I spied this quote on a bumper sticker on a car in the parking lot when I first started working at my current job, I knew I had to track this person down. When I found out that bumper belonged to Megan, before she became Ms. Lollipop, I knew that we had the potential to be friends forever.
See, my dear mother, Wanda, taught me this lesson at a very young age. In fact, I was kind of surprised to find out that it wasn’t an original Wanda-ism. She was always trying to help out her friends and family. She was also a born-to-be-waitress. She LOVED it. One of her goals was to make sure everyone left happy. So if you came in feeling down, or grumpy, or whatever, she made it her goal to make you laugh. All of her guests left with a smile. Seeing as I worked with her at times, I have seen this practice in action. “It’s Showtime!” She would declare before every shift, reminding me to drop my own baggage at the door and put on my happy face!
One of the most beautiful examples of her kindness is the topic for today’s blog. In the late 1990’s, my mother co-founded a non-profit company called Quilts for Kids. Eventually becoming Quilts 4 Kids II Inc. The company did exactly what the name alludes–they made quilts for kids–in crisis. The life-altering event that started this phenomenon was a drunk-driving car accident. A lady was hit head on, and she was pregnant. They had to deliver the baby, although it was extremely premature. Thank the heavens though, the baby survived. My mother took it upon herself to track down anything and everything that this woman needed in order to get through the horrific ordeal.
After that, QFK was born, and she and her partner started making quilts for all sorts of people, including police stations and fire departments, so that when a child was rescued, they could be wrapped in a personal blanket that the victim could keep. Soon they found this awesome faux fur, made from recycled plastic, that could absorb sweat and still offer warmth. Perfect for this.
They would also have local “Safety Expos” with several vendors and speakers, to teach children about a vast array of safety techniques–like wearing a helmet, fire safety, not talking to strangers, or getting your fingerprints done so that if you go missing, there will be another clue available to try and find you. Their motto was, “If we teach the children, they will teach the adults.” Especially for simple things like wearing a helmet or fire safety–sometimes parents get a little lax. I was in my very early teens, but I absolutely adored these expos! Well, it also helped that my best friend and I were volunteered to be the entertainment, so our singing and dancing duo, TUIT, was featured on the stage, singing Britney Spears, and BSB, and ‘NSync. Fun times!
It was around then that they met Abby. Abby was special, because she suffered from a horrible condition called Epidermolysis Bullosa. Basically, the skin is just super sensitive and fragile. In Abby’s case, contact with her skin could cause some of the top layers to be ripped from her body. Can you imagine how it would be if you couldn’t even hold your child due to the fear that you could cause her a ridiculous amount of pain? But guess what? The faux fur didn’t do that! Abby could be wrapped entirely in the fur, which is uber soft anyway, and not be in pain. It was a beautiful thing.
It is very unfortunate that Q4KII did not last, but one of the last big projects that we completed happened after one of the biggest crises of my generation, the biggest crisis for the USA–but most especially Colorado–in 1999…the Columbine High School Shooting. Unnecessary violence. My pack of friends helped her complete the blankets, and she and my 8 year old brother went to deliver them to the survivors at the hospital. I cannot tell you how beautiful the letters of thanks were. I have even heard a few stories that the same survivors still have possession of their exclusive Q4KII Denver Broncos (authentic flags were donated to her) quilts, and how much comfort this small company out in the sticks brought to these children in need.
These are true examples of random acts of kindness and senseless acts of beauty. My mother was one of the most beautiful people that I have ever met. The world is just a little bit darker without her light, but those of us who knew and loved her, and were loved by her, are just a little bit brighter because of it.
I know that both Lollipop and I will revisit this particular quote, because it should be recognized, should be praised. So ask yourself, what is your most recent random act of kindness? Your senseless act of beauty?