Flying out of Hartfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport Friday night, I saw one of those things that makes you tell yourself: "Man, there is a lot of goodness in people." Not once, but twice I saw people approach the same soldier, one buying his meal at a sandwich shop and the other approaching the soldier to give him the food voucher he had received after a delayed flight.The soldier was very appreciative and the acts were moving, even viewed from a distance. Seeing that made you want to be better, nicer, kinder. Even though the acts were unique to my eyes, they made me wonder how many times they were occurring at that very time around the nation's busiest airport. Just because I don't always see it, I decided, doesn't mean that there isn't a lot of good in the world. Maybe I just need to look harder or in different places.
On Monday, you didn't have to look hard or long to find another of those happenings that redeem your belief in the human spirit and its kindness. In Snellville, more than 400 people visited the First Baptist Church of Snellville, attending a blood drive in support of Aimee Copeland, the South Gwinnett High School graduate battling a rare condition called necrotizing fasciitis.
The flesh-eating bacteria has forced doctor's to amputate her hands and most of her left leg, but the 24-year-old's spirit has stayed positive despite the setbacks. And the way she and her family are handling the toughest of tough times has inspired people throughout the state and country.
That inspiration manifested itself in such a large number of people attending the blood drive, put on by the South Gwinnett Rotary Club, of which Andy Copeland, Aimee's father will soon be inducted as president-elect. The drive raised 233 units of blood that will be donated to Shepeard Community Blood Center in Augusta, which supplies Doctors Hospital, where Copeland is being treated.
Rotary Club members said some people waited as long as two hours to give blood. And the people donating weren't limited to Snellville. They flocked from around the area to show their support and contribute in a big way.
Though many of the people present on Monday had never met Aimee Copeland, they all felt like they know her.
"I said we were amazed at her bravery and pray for her daily," Jane Martin, a Rotary Club member said of the message she wrote to the Copeland family on a card that was available to sign at the blood drive. "The Lord has plans for her future."
In a county this large, it's easy to forget about the smaller communities that tie it together. And with plenty of bad news to report, it's easy to forget how much good is happening.
But be it a soldier enjoying a simple sandwich, or a person giving blood to help a person they may never meet, it's important to remember the inherent goodness of the masses. And there's no harm in all of us being inspired to be a little better, nicer and kinder.
Email Todd Cline at firstname.lastname@example.org. His column appears on Wednesdays.