When Good Comes From A Story

I have to share this moment with you.  Because it only reminds me why I do what I do and the power of storytelling.

Last week I introduced our viewers to Larry Hale.  He lives in the Exchange building and is confined to his wheel chair.  A car accident a few years back now makes him unable to walk.  The catch: he lives on the 10th floor of the building and the elevators were out last week following a pipe burst during the cold snap.

photo 1Hale invited me up to his apartment and allowed me to see how good management was treating him and how he gets around.  I was amazed at his attitude, stuck up in his apartment with no where to go, yet no real problem with it.  He was very understanding of the situation.  His only worry, he was missing a Grizzlies game because he couldn’t get downstairs.

The story aired and time passed, then on Friday I got an e-mail from the management company.  In it, an attached photo of Grizzlies tickets for Larry.  It turns out the elevator company saw the story and wanted to help.  After they got one elevator fixed they hooked Larry up with some sweet seats.  He was thrilled and I was happy to see good in it all.

Then I received this text from  him on Friday night: “I wouldn’t be going if you hadn’t made that 10 flight march.  Thanks again.”

It was a small act for a chance to tell what I thought would be a compelling story. What I was reminded is that when you make the best of what you’ve got, sometimes you get something even better.

So keep on telling stories, sharing stories and acting when you feel called.  It works, it really works.

One Person. One Idea. One Good Deed.

In the news business we tend to have a lot of turnover, both in people and in stories. I typically do two stories a day, sometimes more. At the end of the day, as long as I make deadline, I’m done. And I go home and do it all again tomorrow.

But every once and awhile stories keep going and last for days. Every once and awhile, more than I sometimes realize, those stories have impact.

This week I saw the impact of storytelling in Memphis. It started with a blog from Wendi Thomas about cold weather and school closings. It was my day off, but I checked my e-mail and saw that my boss, Tammy, read the blog and felt called to action. She had no idea that there were so many kids in Memphis without proper coats for the cold winter weather. In fact, a lot of people had no idea.

But it turns out, that A LOT of people want to help but just don’t know how.

So, in a few hours we had a Winter Coat Drive. Partnering with the YWCA of Greater Memphis and Common Ground, the Action News 5 Winter Coat Drive.

Wednesday I was assigned that beat. FUN FACT: I love telling stories about good things happening in the community. I love telling stories that show people doing good. And I LOVE telling stories that call others to action. It’s fitting…working for “ACTION” news 5.

So Wednesday I went to South Park Elementary and talked with students and the principal. She said 1/3 of her students didn’t come to school with proper coats. That’s 200 students in short sleeves, light jackets during FREEZING temps. WOW! Talk about a shock factor. It was hard to believe there was such a need.

Coats4KidsThursday was probably my favorite day of all three coat drive days. Thursday we went to the YWCA and picked up 12 coats, then took them to South Park to hand out to kids. They principal picked out 6 kids who didn’t come to school in proper coats. They got to pick out BRAND NEW coats. The joy they had, the smiles on their face and the reaction to a new coat was unbelievable. It brings a tear to my eye thinking about it. One kid said it felt like she was standing next to a heater. The other said it was like a bit marshmallow. I had a blast and got to see the impact the donations were making on kids in Memphis.

Friday we finished off our coverage and coat drive with a final count: 480 coats, $4000 donated to buy new coats. WOW Memphis!! You can make a difference. And you can make it by doing a small thing.

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Truth is “nobody can do everything but EVERYBODY can do something” and this week YOU DID SOMETHING.

The impact will be felt across the city as the YWCA sorts through the coats and delivers them to students in need.

I just hope the spirit of giving continues. It doesn’t have to be a coat or even money.  Maybe it’s time or MAYBE it’s taking a moment to smile at a stranger or ask someone their name on the streets.  The truth is small acts can make a big impact.  It starts with one person, one idea or one good deed and can be contagious.

So keep it up Memphis.  Keep giving, keep caring and keep sharing.  Share all over media.  Not to brag about your good deed but to show others they can do it too.  To show others how easy it is to help.  And how simple it can be.

I’ll end by repeat what I said above: “Nobody can do everything but everybody can do SOMETHING.”

Go. Do. Something.

What We Can Learn From The Memphis Grizzlies

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It’s late, which is often the time of day I have the most thoughts. But I don’t often take the time to write them down. So here we go…

Tonight the Memphis Grizzlies won game 4 of their NBA playoff series against OKC. Wednesday they could take the series with a win on the road.

I just moved to Memphis in January, so I’ve only been here long enough to be a bandwagon fan. But I have experience the magic that comes with cheering on the Grizz. And I’m starting to buy into what they stand for.

You see, the way I’ve always seen sporting events and teams is this: They are fun to follow. They all have stories and they are all examples of hope, hard work, diligence and commitment. And I think we can learn a lot from them. Professional athletes are PROS, they work hard to get where they are and they prove that hard work and sacrifice can pay off.

For me, they are a parallel to OUR faith. No I’m not saying we worship sports (though some do) and I’m not saying that everything is all about sports. What I’m saying is there are several things we can learn from following a team. Much like following Christ and our faith, there are ups and downs. But sticking through it all, we learn something. And it’s usually something we can pass on.

We can also learn A LOT from the Memphis motto: Believe. You see if we BELIEVE in the team, we start to hope for success, we start to come together for a common cause and it spreads. City wide…I see it. Everywhere you look people post BELIEVE MEMPHIS. We chant “Don’t Stop Believin'” and we hold hold up our growls towels with pride. It brings everyone together, from all walks of live, from all parts of the city. From all backgrounds. From all beliefs and perspectives. They fill FedEx Forum, they crowd into bars, restaurants, homes, churches and businesses to share their love for the team. They instill pride in all that we do.

I feel that pride and it’s contagious.

But what if that pride, that belief, went beyond supporting a professional basketball team?

What IF we all believed in something BIGGER than the score, the success and the thrill.

What IF we acted on that BELIEF? Volunteered our time? Took time to clean our city? Said thank you to people who make a difference in our city? Helped others experience the good in our city? Worked hard to maintain our neighborhood? Mentored our children? Spent time with the less fortunate? Gave back to the place we love? Worked hard to keep the positive going?

What IF we payed if forward? Spread the LOVE, JOY, PRIDE and BELIFE beyond basketball season?

You see, this is a GREAT CITY! We’ve got so much to be grateful for and when I see everyone come together to support the GRIZZLIES it inspires me to do more for this place. It makes me happy to be here. It gives me reason to act. It inspires me to BELIEVE in something much bigger than basketball.

And I hope it does the same for you.

In fact, I challenge you this week to do something for someone else. No act too small. Pay it forward, give back. Make a difference. Inspire someone else. Believe. Come together. Learn.

As we follow the Grizzlies (hopefully to the NBA Finals) let us remember to say THANK YOU. Be kind to those around us. Take pride in where we live. Do good. And BELIEVE in something more.