It was an amazing moment of generosity and I was there to witness it. The moment was brief, fleeting and forever memorable to me. Would you like to hear the story? Listen carefully because I love to tell it…
It all happened on a Friday night January 22nd at approximately 7 o’clock in the evening. Ms. Fernandez was speaking on the microphone welcoming the families to our “Dance for Haiti”. The dance was a fundraiser for the Save the Children foundation to help the children of Haiti in the aftermath of the devastating earthquake that struck Haiti on January 12th.
While Ms. Fernandez spoke on the microphone, three construction workers, wearing hardhats quietly entered the gym. These men and their crew work every night on our building, although for the most part we do not see them. The three men stood by Ms. Fernandez waiting for her to finish and then Mani, the crew chief leaned in to Ms. Fernandez and presented her with a white envelope. She smiled and said, “Thank you.”
Mani, then leaned in again and whispered, “There’s about fifteen hundred dollars in there from the construction crew.”
Ms. Fernandez recalls being “speechless”, but Mr. Warfield said soon after, he spotted her screaming for joy. I saw her hug Mani and the other workers with tears in her eyes. For those of us who were there for that moment, we had tears too. These hard workingmen, who work every night on our building, these men we rarely see were fully present and accounted for at our “Dance for Haiti”. They were not asked to contribute, but on their own, they joined with us to support the children of Haiti. The workers could not stay long. They had to work to do, but they danced joyfully out the door while Mr. Warfield our DJ played some great tunes.
When I spoke to Mani a few days later to deliver our thank you notes that my students had written, he was so humble. He said, “The money was like a drop of water.” Well, I thought to myself, imagine if everyone gave their “drop of water” to Haiti…I pictured a waterfall of generosity washing over Haiti and making it whole again and better than before. haiti needs to be better than before and I feel a waterfall in the world as everyone is doing what they can to help. I shook Mani’s hand and gave a shout out thank you to the crew, who were busy at work and taking care of our school by night, making it better than before.
Well, that’s my story. A story I was lucky enough to have witnessed. It was brief, fleeting and for more than a few golden moments, the men who work outside our building joined our school and surrounding community by embracing Haiti and keeping it close to our hearts.