My friend and trainer, Steve Gordon, was all set to have an incredible trip with his two daughters to New York City for a family reunion, but misfortune steered them in another direction.
“Hey Jim, change of plans,” he texted. “My cousin lives in Hartford, Connecticut, which was to be the focal point of the entire trip, took a turn for the worse and my mom decided to postpone the trip.
“It was difficult to change my plans last minute,” Steve continued, “but am taking the girls on a tour of goodwill up and down the coast. Each day, different cities in which the three of us are gonna donate items and volunteer at rescue missions, homeless shelters, VA centers, wherever there is a need.
“Call it the tour of gratitude! #GratiTour.”
I asked Steve to write up his adventure.
“This Thanksgiving started out looking like it was going to be a bust.
“After finally getting up enough money to take my daughters on an east coast road trip, the trip was cancelled due to an illness in the family. After realizing that I probably would not be able to do much more than sit around and eat for a whole week, I decided to do something different: I would take the girls on a road trip of goodwill.
“Immediately, I went from feeling down and depressed to feeling positive and hopeful. Giving always feels great, and this year, my girls got to see the other side of the coin – the side where people don’t have $600 iPads and designer clothes.
“So, Cassandra, 16, Jaz, 10, and I loaded up the vehicle with clothing, electronics, collectibles, and anything else that would bring a smile, some warmth, or a feeling of happiness to anyone that needed it. We asked friends and neighbors from our community if they’d be willing to donate items as well, knowing that anything would help those in need and they did.
“Santa Barbara, Oxnard, Ojai and Ventura were the cities that we reached out to, because they are the places that we frequent and have many friends. It was a real eye-opener for them and gave us a chance to bond like never before.
“Honestly Jim, I think Cass finally understands just how hard her parents work.
“As we left one of the rescue missions, Jaz asked me, ‘Why are there so many places set at the table?’
“I told her, ‘Because there are so many people that could use a little help, and I was one of those people.’ Then I explained that this is just ONE of many places where people receive help.
“I told them that it’s not only people who have done ‘bad’ things that caused them to need help, but everyday people who get injured, and can no longer work or suffer from illness, or a turnaround in the economy. It can happen to anyone, which is why it’s so important to have empathy and compassion for everyone.
“They got it.
“Later that evening, I took them shopping at the $1 store, and they both had change left over. That says a lot!!”