- The coronavirus pandemic that originated in Wuhan, China, has reached over 150 countries and resulted in thousands of deaths.
- People are carrying out acts of kindness in the midst of the pandemic, making get well soon cards for people in quarantine and repurposing food from cancelled events to feed first responders.
- Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.
The ongoing coronavirus pandemic has reached over 150 countries, infected hundreds of thousands of people, and resulted in thousands of deaths.
Fear around public health emergencies like the coronavirus can bring out the worst in people, but it can also provide inspiring examples of people choosing to be kind.
Even in the midst of the crisis, people are making sure those in quarantine don’t feel alone, and turning cancelled events into opportunities to give back.
Here are some recent instances of everyday people making the best of unfortunate situations.
When a couple downsized their wedding and got married at home, their entire neighbourhood surprised them by celebrating from their cars.
Anastasija and Josh Davis of British Columbia, Canada, were supposed to get married on April 3 in front of 135 guests. As the coronavirus pandemic escalated and gatherings of over 50 people were prohibited, they had to rethink their wedding plans.
The couple got married in Josh’s parents’ living room in front of immediate family and the groom’s best man. When they rode in a limousine to another location to take photos, the best man told them to roll down the window. Their friends lined the streets with signs, balloons, streamers, and music blasting from their cars.
“They were honking, cheering, yelling congratulations,” Anastasija told Insider. “Josh and I were shocked. We were crying, we couldn’t believe this was happening. Seeing them on the street, celebrating our day with us, made it so magical.”
People in Spain, Italy, and Israel held rounds of applause for healthcare workers from their balconies and rooftops.
Quarantined people in Italy, Spain, France, and Israel coordinated times to applaud healthcare workers from their homes. The sounds of clapping, cheering, and whistling filled the air in expressions of gratitude for doctors, nurses, and others who are tirelessly treating the sick.
“It was amazing,” an American woman living in Israel told Insider.
WestJet threw four students a mini-graduation on their flight home after their college closed due to the coronavirus.
Briercrest College and Seminary in Caronport, Saskatchewan, Canada, cancelled its graduation ceremony due to the coronavirus. Four seniors on the college’s volleyball team were on their way back from the CCAA Women’s Volleyball National Championships when Briercrest chaplain Joelle Epp and WestJet flight attendants surprised them with an impromptu “graduation.” The ceremony included “Pomp and Circumstance,” diplomas, a processional, and Kit Kats.
“I was just happy because everybody was panicking over the coronavirus, and this is just finally something nice that somebody did,” Nancy Garner, mother of graduating senior Rebecca, told Insider’s Gabbi Shaw.
A group of neighbours on lockdown in Spain sang “Happy Birthday” to an 80-year-old woman from their windows.
Charo’s neighbours placed a cake with a birthday candle outside her door on her balcony and called for her to open the door. When she saw the cake, she began to cry. Her neighbours then launched into a rousing rendition of “Happy Birthday.”
The video has been viewed over half a million times.
A team of engineers and 3D-printing experts figured out how to print respirator valves in Italy, where equipment shortages are costing lives.
Massimo Temporelli of digital manufacturing lab FabLab, engineering CEO Cristian Fracassi of Isinnova, and 3D print expert at Lonati SpA Michele Faini collaborated to 3D print respirator valves for hospitalized COVID-19 patients, Kristin Toussaint of Fast Company reported. The supplier didn’t want to reveal details about the valve’s design, so the team reverse-engineered it themselves. They printed 100 valves and brought the printer to the hospital to produce more life-saving devices and alleviate shortages that are costing lives.
Jennifer Le gave out face masks at a light rail station in Singapore when supplies ran low.
When Jennifer Le saw elderly people waiting hours in line outside pharmacies in Singapore to buy face masks, she decided to help. She ordered face masks from Vietnam and had them delivered to a friend there, who brought them to Singapore for her to distribute.
“I know a lot of people only care about themselves,” she told Our Grandfather Story in a video on their YouTube channel. “Of course you must take care of yourself first. After you have enough, then you can help other people.”
Students in Columbus, Nebraska, made get well soon cards for people in isolation.
Fourth, fifth, and sixth graders at St. Anthony’s Home and School in Columbus, Nebraska, made get well soon cards for people affected by the coronavirus, according to the Columbus Telegram. Their teacher, Charlotte Beran, then mailed the cards to the University of Nebraska Medical Centre to be distributed to those in quarantine.
The hospital posted a photo of the cards on its Facebook page, sharing how they brought joy to patients.
“We just heard from the folks in isolation here what a huge impact these made!” the hospital wrote. “‘It was a real bright spot in my day. They were just so darling and heartfelt.'”
A husband celebrated his 67th wedding anniversary outside his wife’s nursing home after coronavirus restrictions kept them apart.
Bob Shellard, 90, cannot visit Nancy, 88, at her nursing home in Stafford Springs, Connecticut, due to the coronavirus pandemic,Insider’s Anneta Konstantinides reported.
Instead, he brought a beautiful sign he made himself – along with plenty of balloons – and stood outside her window to mark their 67th wedding anniversary.
“I’ve loved you 67 years and still do,” it read. “Happy Anniversary.”
Bob and Nancy’s story has since gone viral and made headlines around the country. Laura Mikolajczak, the couple’s daughter, hopes it will show people that “you still have to live your life, and you’ve got to continue” during times of crisis.
“Even with all of this uncertainty and fear going on with the coronavirus, it’s important to continue to express your love and continue tradition,” she said.
Representatives from Chabad of Westchester in New York went house to house in order to help quarantined families celebrate the Jewish holiday of Purim.
New Rochelle resident Gary Berger said that Chabad of Westchester went to over 100 homes to read the megillah, a Hebrew book which observant Jews are obligated to hear chanted aloud on Purim. Since the households were under quarantine, Chabad representatives read the megillah outside on porches and in backyards.
A rabbi and synagogue congregants delivered pizza to quarantined families in the Bronx.
Rabbi Dan Margulies and congregants from The Riverdale Minyan in the Bronx delivered pizza to quarantined families on March 10. Margulies even dressed as Olaf from the movie “Frozen” to spread some good cheer (dressing up in costumes is also a Purim tradition).
“When we saw that we were delivering pizzas, we were honestly shocked,” Bryan Salamon, a member of The Riverdale Minyan, told Insider. “All of us are affected somehow, yet everyone went above and beyond. My son was really the most excited as he’s the only quarantined one right now. During his class Zoom session yesterday, he made it a point to tell his classmates about Rabbi Margulies and Jonathan Hack delivering pizza to him.”
Cleveland Cavaliers player Kevin Love donated $US100,000 to support the arena’s hourly arena employees after NBA games were suspended.
The NBA suspended its season on March 11 after Utah Jazz centre Rudy Gobert tested positive for coronavirus – a move that impacts the arena’s hourly employees as well as the players. Love shared in an Instagram post that he’s committing $US100,000 from his foundation, the Kevin Love Fund, to support staff whose income is affected by the coronavirus.
“I hope that during this time of crisis, others will join me in supporting our communities,” he wrote.
When the 2020 Arnold Sports Festival was cancelled, organisers sent the prepared food to tornado victims and first responders in Nashville, Tennessee.
The 2020 Arnold Sports Festival in Columbus, Ohio, is one of many cancelled events in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak, but food for 200,000 attendees had already been prepared. Instead of throwing it away, organisers arranged for refrigerated trucks to deliver the food to Nashville, Tennessee, to feed those affected by tornadoes and first responders on the ground.
A teacher shared her easy trick for making sure students are washing their hands to prevent coronavirus
Shauna Woods, a third-grade teacher in Hallsville, Missouri, wanted to encourage her students to wash their hands more frequently during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
She had previously used a stamp with her name on it to mark her classroom books, but Woods gave her students a new goal: wash your hands more often and get the stamp to fade or disappear by the end of the day. If they succeed, they win a prize. Woods even started stamping her own hand to set a good example.
When she posted her strategy on her classroom’s Facebook page, it was shared over 81,000 times.
“Our class never thought this would go viral,” she said. “I was simply trying to share a fun idea with local teachers. Our cups are full now that just maybe we’ve helped keep a few more students safe and healthy during this season.”
After coronavirus cancelled their daughter’s bat mitzvah party, a family turned the food into meal deliveries for people in quarantine.
Jordana Shmidman’s bat mitzvah celebration in New York had to be cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic. The food for the event was already prepared, so the Shmidman family told the caterers to package it up for delivery to people in quarantine. Parent volunteers then coordinated deliveries across the New York metropolitan area for staff members and their families.
Around 150 boxes of food were delivered to quarantined people in Bergen County, the Bronx, Westchester, Manhattan, Queens and Rockland County.
The boxes contained portions of pesto salmon, balsamic chicken, a “rocket dog” package with a hamburger, hot dog, fries and onion rings, butternut squash soup, fresh fruit, dinner rolls, and traditional hamantaschen cookies for the Jewish holiday of Purim.
Local Jewish communities sent care packages to Yeshiva University students in quarantine after a student tested positive for coronavirus.
Jonathan Schwab, Yeshiva University’s associate director of housing and residence life, posted a photo on Facebook of hundreds of care packages delivered from nearby communities. The gift bags contained homemade baked goods, snacks, and challah and grape juice for use on the Sabbath for students stuck in the dorms.
“There are streams of students coming in to pick them up or getting them as we deliver around campus, students who’ve been under a lot of stress since Tuesday now with huge smiles on their faces, unable to believe the generosity and caring,” he wrote in a Facebook post. “After spending a few days talking more about isolation than I ever thought I would, I’m feeling more connected and surrounded than ever.”
The captain of the Diamond Princess cruise ship, where coronavirus spread to over 700 passengers, was the last to leave the boat after making sure everyone had disembarked safely.
Passengers say Captain Gennaro Arma did his best to keep quarantined passengers on the Diamond Princess in good spirits with informative announcements, encouraging signs, and a sense of humour.
“Captain Arma was courageous, sympathetic and carried himself with dignity and optimism for what was an unprecedented and unique situation,” passenger Aun Na Tan wrote in an Instagram post. “Through the entire journey, he sought to bring light to our circumstances and strove to reassure us as much as he could.”
After two weeks docked in the port of Yokohama, Japan, he waited until all of the passengers had left the ship to disembark himself.
Do you have a personal experience with the coronavirus you’d like to share? Or a tip on how your town or community is handling the pandemic? Please email [email protected] and tell us your story.
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