America is full of heroes. Yes, there are the all-around-superhero type: NYFD and the people rebuilding New Orleans and all that jazz. But there are lesser-known, heart-of-the superheroes: do-gooders and life-changers who do good and change lives in very quiet, behind the scene ways; who make up a not oft-noted sense of who and what America is. This here is a note for them:
I know it’s not always convenient to be kind. You have a life going on, after all. Work to do, friends to support, internal monologues to ponder. So going out of your way even in the slightest is not easy. In fact, it’s easier to tuck your head and move on. So the very notion that you have looked up, looked around, and done something – anything – for others is in itself amazing. Keep up the good work. Keep giving and in doing such inspiring others to give. And keep thanking, in turn inspiring others to thank.
It’s been disarming and delightful to travel the country and have what feels like a cheering squad made up of friends, family, friends of friends and absolute strangers with me, rallying the troops and yelling get ’em, tiger! as Megan and I go. Though it’s not been convenient for most, people have offered their couches and a hot shower to us. They have gone above and beyond the call of letting us crash and made us coffee and dinner. (And they have filled our wine goblets.) Waitresses, waiters, hotel clerks across the states and the staff of OkCupid have made conversation and recommendations, given directions, helped us fumble through bureaucracy and were polite and sweet as pie the entire time.
I was expecting (and hoping) to find dates across the country. I was not expecting to find out that Americans are literally some of the best humanity has to offer.
America is full of heroes. They are not the story we tell too often, nor the story that captures our attention the way a villain would, nor the story that sells papers and subscriptions. But they’re there, and they are our story.