Monday, May 9, 2011

Kindness Counts: Those who have been there


This week's story comes from my friend Jen at Praying for Aviana who, after struggling with infertility, adopted a daughter from Guatemala, and then was hit by a car while crossing the street with her grandpa, suffering a traumatic brain injury.

When Jenny asked me to write for her series, I was really excited, because I think it is so important to point out the everyday kindness of people.

I was immediately wracked with one problem though. Over the past two years, we have had so many instances of kindness shown to our family. I wondered how I could ever possibly choose just one. I finally decided to write about our most recent experience. This family is one I have briefly spoke of thus far.

Our daughter Aviana was hit by a car almost two years ago, and sadly, barely escaped death. She suffered a traumatic brain injury, and was left unable to walk, talk, or eat by mouth.

We take her back, and forth to a brain injury institute in Philadelphia. Every six months, they teach us their extensive program, and every day, we carry it out at home. With each returned trip from The Institutes, we need to build new therapy devices in order to implement Aviana's revised program.

Upon our recent return, we were to obtain a tank, which was to contain a mixture of carbon dioxide, and oxygen. After calling, what seemed like every company, we found the closest place we could get this tank was in Los Angeles. We live in Northern California. The round trip journey is, at least, 14-hours.

We were struggling with this issue for weeks, and were in the process of deciphering the cost to have this heavy tank shipped to us, or if we should drive down and pick it up. The program our daughter is on leaves little extra time, so this tank situation was causing a decent amount of trouble.

In the meantime, we needed a special coverall suit made for a different portion of Aviana's program. My husband took the coverall into a shoe repair shop, and spoke with the owner. His shop was close to the area where our daughter was struck, so my husband asked the store owner if he had remembered the accident, as they had shut down the entire area for the investigation.

In talking to this kind man, Bart, my husband found out his very own son had suffered a brain injury about six years prior. He fully understood how challenging this world could be to navigate through. My husband agreed, and in passing, explained the difficulty we were having in obtaining a special order tank.

Once he found out the tank was located in Los Angeles, he explained how he frequents the area, and immediately offered to pick it up for us. He was planning on driving down within the next couple of weeks.

My husband, and I were in complete shock, and were beyond grateful to have this looming issue finally put to rest.

Sure enough, Bart, and his wife, drove down, picked the 175-pound, 5-foot tall tank up, and drove it back to our town. We had offered him gas money, but when my husband uttered the words, he would have no such thing.

He told us to take whatever money we were going to give, and put it toward our daughter. When my husband picked the coveralls up, he would not let him pay for them either.

We were pleasantly surprised, to say the least, by the kindness of a perfect stranger. When we went to pick the tank up at his house, we met is wife, and stayed for a while to get to know each other. These two people were so hospitable; they made us feel like we were family. They acted like transporting the tank from Southern California was no big deal, and the least they could do for us.

When I later sent them a card, the front said, "Little to you, big to us!" That is exactly how we feel. The acquiring of the tank for us would have been a huge feat.

I have been amazed by the kindness of family, friends, acquaintances, and strangers, more in the past two years, than in my entire life.

Each, and every experience has made us want to be better people. We want to be for others, not just everything these wonderful people have been for us, but more.

Through this entire chain of events, I couldn't help but think, there are not coincidences, and these beautiful people were put into our lives at exactly the right time.

To the Russo Family ~ we thank you from the deepest part of our hearts. We will never forget the kindness, and compassion you have shown to our family.


Have something you want to share about an act of kindness? We'd love to post it! Contact me at

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