Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

FOUR CHEERS; Customer Kindness

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

FOUR CHEERS; Customer Kindness

Article excerpt

We continue to receive thank yous from readers who appreciate the kindness of their neighbors and of strangers.

Sally Weerts of Jacksonville was inspired to write after reading similar examples in The Times-Union.

"I flashed back to early morning Thursday, Nov. 17 - one week before Thanksgiving - staring through the plexiglass at our neighborhood Western Union with a lot of cash in one hand and directions for wiring to the United Kingdom to help a stranded, upstanding Jacksonville acquaintance return home in the other.

"Takang Patel, the owner of Tara Market, had just finished a full night's work at his second job.

"As he turned with my things in his hands, he urged again: 'Are you sure Ma'am? I've seen frauds like this.'

"A stranger's sincerity had set off the warning. Even e-mail from a known acquaintance is suspect?

"As much as Patel managed to give back my dollars, Maxine Brown - standing as lone, silent witness to it all - managed my meltdown. Across her car for as long as needed, her prayer stayed with me as I returned home.

"We were an unlikely three that day - from three cultures and two communities of color. I was the most unlikely arriving, but clearly the luckiest leaving."


Dawson Pickett, a Fletcher High School student, has led his last USO food drive.

This year, he was able to feed more than 175 local Mayport military families, he writes in an e-mail.

"This will be my final year organizing this event, since I will be attending college in the fall of 2010.

"It is with much pride that I can say that this community event will not cease to exist. Montessori Tides School, my alma mater, a contributor for the past eight years, has agreed to continue organizing and collecting donations and food for the USO and the Mayport military families it supports."

A wide variety of businesses helped the project, Pickett writes.

"Thank you to the community at large and specifically to the contributor/sponsors of this annual event for the support you have given me in my efforts to assist our Mayport-based military families. …

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