The kindness of strangers
This may have been the most amazing day of my life, at least professionally. We started out the day with just a flooded out warehouse. We ended the day with a temporary warehouse, an official designation by the Mayor’s Office as the agency to distribute in-kind donations (what Betsy and I affectionately refer to as “stuff”), a partnership with Hands On Nashville and a really nice lunch at Sambuca.
So it started with this man, John Scannapieco. We call him the Wartime Consigliere. John is the president of the board at the Community Resource Center and we had breakfast yesterday at Noshville. We didn’t even have time to order. John was on fire. “Let’s give stuff away!” he said. “This is what our mission is and we can’t sit on the sidelines during the worst disaster to hit Nashville.” Give stuff away? I’m still bleary from little sleep and dealing with the flooding at the warehouse. “We can do this,” he says. “Let’s make a list.”
Make a list. That rings a bell (see a few posts down). So we do. At about the same time, Betsy was realizing that people were calling Hands On Nashville trying to donate goods, but that HON didn’t have the infrastructure to deal with that plus deploy thousands of volunteers to flood-stricken areas. Hello, hello? This is what we do, she said. We give stuff away professionally. We have the infrastructure and the experience. Stick with me. This may be a longer post than normal, but what happens next is amazing, almost a miracle.
Last night, I blog about trying to find warehouse space. This amazing woman, Tina Hamilton from the Susan G. Komen Foundation responds almost as soon as I hit the “publish” button. “I know where you can get space.” I call her immediately and she tells my about another amazing person, Robert Craig. He manages A+ Storage in Nashville. I call him and leave a message.
This morning I call him again. “When can you come over?” he says. Well, right away. He shows me fantastic warehouse space in what may be the classiest storage facility in the entire universe. I am not only giddy with excitement, I am about to faint. He donates space to us. If you have bulk donations, please click on their website. All the information’s there.
At the same time Betsy is communicating with Hands On Nashville. Over Betsy’s cellphone on speaker we come up with a quick plan with their executive director, Brian Williams.
The Mayor’s Office comes on board. By the way, if you are not immediately impacted by the flooding you may not know that the Mayor’s Office has done an incredible job, just incredible. As have the police, firefighters, emergency crews and every other Metro agency. We have had a Katrina event, without the disasters that took place in the aftermath on a government level.
So here we are. This is our temporary space. Without a single notification to the public, we already have a few donations. Betsy is on the computer over there, already working it. Did I tell you Betsy is a force of nature? We will be open for business tomorrow. Betsy joked that we are the Queens of the Universe (she wants capes), but we kind of feel like that tonight. We may get the best sleep of our lives. This all happened in one day. Largely due to kindness of strangers.
Oh, and Sambuca. Betsy and I were starving around noon and A+ Storage is in the Gulch, just around the corner from Sambuca. We had a wonderful lunch. Quite unlike our normal repasts of leftovers or KFC. The bill came. The waiter said it wasn’t much, but the restaurant would like to extend a discount. It was much. It was totally appreciated. The kindness of strangers, indeed.