Editor’s Note: Look Who Showed Up

Reader's Digest Editor in Chief Liz Vaccariello reflects on the power of a helping hand in her November editor's letter.

november 2015 editors letterSteve Vaccariello for Reader's DigestA man sits on the sidewalk a few blocks from my office. He holds no sign; he asks for no money or food. He just offers a steady stream of greetings to passersby.

One evening, the man breaks his good-natured facade. “Don’t ignore me like I don’t exist,” he shouts at the humanity hurrying past him. “You can say hello!” The next day, a woman in a blue Ann Taylor dress sits beside him, a cup of coffee in her hand, another in his. They are talking. Simple as that. I think, This woman—maybe a woman who works nearby—heard this man.

I also think about a single mom mentioned in this month’s “If You Find This Letter …”. Depressed and down on her luck, the young mom could have used some cheering up, and Hannah Brencher posted the woman’s story on her website, MoreLoveLetters.com. When boxes and boxes of letters written by strangers arrived, Hannah tells us, she realized this: “If you give people something to do—a mission—they will show up.”

[pullquote] If you give people something to do—a mission—they will show up. [/pullquote]

The world is filled with people like that. So are the pages of Reader’s Digest.

When a man recently released from the hospital dialed 911 because he couldn’t leave his apartment to shop for food, operator Marilyn Hinson showed up.

When a young boy was faced with losing his mother to cancer, oncology nurse Karen Mott showed up.

When the family of a fallen military hero needed help with the funeral, the Patriot Guard Riders showed up.

And when a man sitting on a sidewalk wanted to be treated with human decency, the woman in the Ann Taylor dress pulled up a piece of cardboard and had a seat. She showed up.

I invite you to e-mail me at [email protected] and follow me at facebook.com/lizvaccariello and lizvaccariello on Instagram.

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Originally Published in Reader's Digest