How often do you read the story of ordinary people who go out of their way helping other ordinary folks in need?

Nope, better to repeat the latest rumor and vilify anyone not in our own group, whether it be right wingnuts or leftwing moonbats.

Yet these stories happen all the time, and perhaps in these days of namecalling and hatred, maybe you should take time out and read the story of ordinary folks helping each other.

Last month, Vietnamese American pilgrims traveling to a large Catholic Vietnamese religious festival were involved in a bus crash, killing 17 and injuring over 40.

The crash was terrible, since most of those on the bus were related or friends of each other, and was a blow to a community that had suffered much in the past. The story was in the news for a day or two, then most of the press moved on.

But what about those injured? Those injured came from Houston, but the bus accident was in northern Texas, so the injured were taken to various hospitals in the Dallas area. (for those of you who don’t live in flyover country, the cities are 240 miles apart…or 360 km).

And that’s where the story of kindness starts. The injured, as in most “mass casualty” situations, were sent to various local hospitals. But when calls went out for translators and help, people responded.

The Houston Chronicle notes that by a coincidence, a Vietnamese physician was working in the E.R. of Parkland Memorial Hospital, where the most seriously injured were medivaced by helicopter. But others from the local Vietnamese community also came to help with visits, food and translators:

Volunteers from the Catholic churches divided the duties of visiting the survivors around the region, each group taking a hospital. Donna Tran, a member of Mother of Perpetual Help Church in Garland and not related to Scott Tran, … prayed with Mung Tran, an older woman suffering from a head injury.

“I had to cry with the lady in there,” Donna Tran said. “She knows nothing. One eye is covered, she has stitches on the side of her head. We just prayed.”

But now it is a month later. Most of the injured have gone home, but not all. Yet the visits and help from the local community continues.

From the Dallas Morning News:

…the horrific accident occurred nearly a month ago, and a handful of survivors have been in Dallas-area hospitals ever since, with family members from Houston still conducting anxious bedside vigils.

And all this time, many local Catholics – particularly from the Diocese of Dallas’ four Vietnamese parishes – have been knocking themselves out to help.

Every day, for example, volunteers deliver plates of Vietnamese food to sons and daughters of 78-year-old Hoa Pham, recovering from head trauma at Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas.

Ms. Pham’s children also have received help with hotel and gas costs. They’ve had regular visits from priests and lay people, who pop into their mother’s room for prayers and counseling.

This incident shows the generosity of the close-knit Vietnamese community.

But one could cite dozens of similar incidents where average Americans helped each other after tornadoes, hurricanes, floods, or accidents. I saw how communities organized to help their neighbors after the Red River flooded Grand Forks, in the year New Mexico suffered dozen of fires, during Katrina, and after tornadoes.

The hundred thousand responders to Hurricane Katrina were barely noticed by a press, nor were the stories of church groups going down to help, or hundreds of thousands who opened their homes to take in relatives or friends, in the news.

So the next time you hear elitists proclaim how dumb the American public is, or about the horrors of the “Christianists” whose beliefs threaten America, or even about how America has just too many immigrants, just smile and remember: the kindness of ordinary people rarely gets noticed in the press.


Thanks for the “headsup” from WhispersInTheLoggiaBlog.


Nancy Reyes is a retired physician living in the rural Philippines. Her website is Finest Kind clinic and Fishmarket.

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