Ripple Effects

Text by Jorge Arauz, Editor in Chief. Photo by Mario Pascual | May 11, 2018 | Lifestyle

I ‘ll never forget the time I met a newlywed Midwestern couple stranded in Miami during their honeymoon while one of the many hurricanes of 2005 was brewing outside. Their flight back home had been cancelled that morning and they were in the hotel lobby glued to the TV set behind the bar, a mix of terror and tired on their faces. I couldn’t help but ask: “What’s wrong? Are you two OK?” They took one look at me and asked “Are you going to a wedding?” “No, I said, I’m on my way to a gala.” The look on their faces was priceless. “You’re going to a gala in the middle of a hurricane?!,” asked the wife. “Wait…what’s a gala?!” the husband shot back. It didn’t take long for me to realize these folks weren’t in Kansas anymore. I was early, so I joined them for a drink. The hurricane looked like it was jogging north anyway. To make a long story short, my new friends helped me realize just how lucky we are to live in such a generous city where altruism and getting involved has become second nature. This couple had never been to a gala. They had never donated a dime. The only volunteer experience they’d ever had was back in high school when they were required to log a few hours of community service in order to graduate. I was floored. They were inspired. I never ended up going to the gala that night (everyone was evacuated because of the hurricane), but I did stay in touch with my new friends. The following week, when they finally returned home, they contacted a few local non-profits and asked how they could help. Nearly 12 years later, their eldest son is launching a Volunteer Club at his middle school. I guess it’s true that no good deed goes unnoticed, and you never know when you’re going to inspire someone to make a difference.