How My Twitter/ActiveRain "Family" Made My Son's Difficult Day a Little Brighter
I took the day off yesterday, so that I could just spend time with my wife and kids. My son Brandon's 10th birthday is today, and we also wanted to spend some time cleaning around the house in preparation for his party. We went to a book fair in the late morning, then had lunch at Golden Wok in north Austin.
The lunch was lovely, and Brandon even tried sesame chicken for the first time, which was a hit. We were going to head home and do dishes, laundry, etc. to get a jump on tomorrow's festivities.
However, our day took a turn for the worse as we were leaving the restaurant.
It must first be noted that Brandon and Aleah (our two older kids) are big fans of their handheld Nintendo DS video games. Brandon asked where his DS case was, which contained all 16 or 17 of his games. I didn't remember seeing it at all during our time running around, but he had apparently switched games while we were out and about, which meant that he had it in the car before we ate. I knew he hadn't taken it into the restaurant, and neither my wife nor I recalled seeing it at the book fair. Brandon thought it must have been stolen.
Of course, my first reaction was to assume that he was incorrect, or that he'd left it inside (no) or inside at the very low-traffic book fair (also no). We tried to re-assure him that we would find it, but after some detective work, we determined that it was in fact stolen from our vehicle in broad daylight as we enjoyed the food inside.
I am still dumbfounded by this, since it seems like such a bold move for someone to make. Also, it seems like an odd choice to steal since there were other "valuables" in plain sight.
Since Pam had the keys, I figured that the car was locked. She is the more responsible member of our marriage on stuff like that. Perhaps she was distracted by our two-year-old and forgot to lock it. Either way, this was shocking to all of us, especially on the eve of such a great day.
Since I didn't have a lot of time to write an actual blog post when we got home, I went to Twitter and wrote the following "tweet":
My son is very upset-all of his Nintendo DS games were in his case, which was stolen from our vehicle today. Tomorrow is his birthday. Damn.
The response there was overwhelming and swift. Several of my friends (who are also here on AR) offered to help by sending replacement games and/or used games to help make Brandon's birthday a little brighter. Our insurance company will cover part of the cost (about 1/2 in my estimation).
Clint Miller was quick to offer support by offering to purchase a game for Brandon. He ordered two of them from Amazon on my recommendation, one of which will be paid for by Elizabeth Ramsey Cooper. Elizabeth is also sending another game or two that her daughter was willing to part with. Tina Merritt's son heard about what happened, and they also donated two games to the "cause".
So, who are these Good Samaritans, anyway?
Clint Miller has become a good friend of mine over the past few months, and he has always struck me as a stand-up guy. His company, Real Estate Client Referrals, provides "warm" leads for agents all over the country. I used this service for a short time and the leads were pretty good, but some unrelated financial issues made it tough for me to give it a fair shake, so I had to discontinue. I might resume this service in the spring. If you are looking for a reputable person/company in that arena, I would recommend speaking with Clint first. He does what he says. Period.
Elizabeth Ramsey Cooper is another friend of mine. She and I have actually discussed starting a charitable cause benefitting children that would leverage our "audience" here on ActiveRain. She is a great lady, and although we have only spoken once on the phone, it was like speaking to an old friend. We are still working on the direction that we would like for this to take. She has already claimed the Oprah spot if it takes off. :)
I will admit that I don't know Tina Merritt very well yet, which makes her gesture even more special to me somehow. I so appreciate this generosity on her son's behalf. She is clearly a great mom who is raising her son correctly. Kudos to you, Tina! Thanks to Plaxo.com, I also know that tomorrow is Tina's birthday. Stop by her blog and wish her a happy birthday if you have a chance. Happy early birthday!
There was another member whom I think is sending two more DS games, but this was via word-of-mouth and not yet confirmed.
I cannot overstate how touched I was by the kindness of my friends. More importantly, my son was incredibly thankful. We both got a little emotional at the thought, truth be told.