When news first came out of Newtown, Connecticut on Friday that a madman had shot 20 children and six school staff at Sandy Hook Elementary School, I know I wasn't the only American tempted to go back to bed and pull the covers up tight over my head. In the wake of Adam Lanza's massacre, it's tempting to believe that the Mayans are right: the world is ending. And yet, there have been some incredible acts of kindness in the days since the school shooting that have, if not restored our faith in humanity, at least allowed us to breathe again.
Stories like that of love letters flown across the country by an airline to be buried with a young shooting victim remind us that although there is evil in this world, there is peace too, and love, and people with hearts so large that they're ready to burst from their chests. I am sharing some of those stories here because I think we all need them right now ... me included:
1. Little Noah Pozner, the youngest of the Sandy Hook victims, was the first to be laid to rest today in keeping with the Jewish custom of burying loved ones as soon as possible after death. Relatives across the country had written love letters to the little boy, but because the funeral was so fast, they were struggling to figure out how to get them to Noah's parents in time for the burial. That's when the folks at JetBlue stepped in. The airline flew the letters across the country in time for his coffin to be filled with messages of love. You can also help Noah's family with funds at the Noah's Ark of Hope Fund.
2. A New York City reporter sent to Newtown to cover the tragedies took a photo of a sign at the Newtown General Store that's been going viral on social media today: a man from California had called them and pledged enough money to cover the cost of a cup of coffee for every single person in town. The man later said on Twitter that he just wanted to do something small to give people in town a sense of normalcy.
3. Parents of the children who survived the massacre at Sandy Hook have their own private pain to deal with, but even as they work to help their children regain trust, they have taken the time to set up My Sandy Hook Family Fund. The money will be used to help the families who lost their babies on Friday.
4. A team of 10 golden retrievers has been sent to Newtown by the Lutheran Church Charities, a non-profit in the Chicago area, to act as comfort dogs to cuddle with the survivors and give them some peace and love in a time of need.
5. When New York Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz found out that shooting victim Jack Pinto wore a Cruz jersey every weekend when he watched his favorite team played, the father of an 11-month-old decided to dedicate his game to the little boy. He wrote tributes to the little boy on his cleats and gloves, and he played his heart out. Cruz also reached out to the boy's family, and he plans to visit with them in the weeks to come to do what he can for them.
These are not the only acts of kindness and wonder that we will see in the weeks to come; I'm sure of it. As New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof said on his Facebook today, we could all do at least 26 acts of kindness to honor the memory of the lives lost on Friday.
Are you in? Will you try to help good triumph over evil?
Image via Getty Images/Jim Rogash