Service of Little Things Mean A Lot

April 6th, 2020

Categories: Charity, Family, Friends, Little Things Mean A Lot


We hear on the news and on social media about the magnificent donations of goods, services and salaries that corporations and billionaires are making to help shoulder the damage and havoc the coronavirus is causing.  Hotel tycoon Sheldon Adelson is paying salaries and estimated tips of almost 10,000 employees at the shuttered Las Vegas Sands; Oprah Winfrey is donating $10 million to relief efforts and Robert Kraft of the Patriots used the team’s jet to bring in almost 2 million N95 masks from China. He shipped 300,000 of them to NYC’s healthcare workers. A Brooklyn landlord–owner of 18 residential buildings–told tenants they didn’t have to pay April rent.

Just as important are less flamboyant unpublicized gifts from friends and family.


A friend mailed a face mask to me when she heard I couldn’t find one for love or money and she knew I grocery shop and go for brisk walks in NYC. It was a priceless gift.

I mentioned a futile search to a friend, I’ll call Dorothy, for a thermometer for another friend, I’ll call Donna. I’d stopped in at every pharmacy and drugstore, hardware and health food store between 39th and 56th Streets on First, Second and Third Avenues. There wasn’t one. Dorothy found a thermometer in its original packaging in her apartment and mailed it to Donna. Pay dirt! Another precious gift.


Another friend who lives alone wrote: “My children decided the delivery service I use needs too many hands touching the food they deliver.  Consequently they will do my shopping.  In my last order I received 4 cucumbers, 5 heads of lettuce, a pint of 1/2 & 1/2 and I can go on. Now I may not die of the virus but I might succumb to overeating. The things we do for love!”

A daughter living in NYC ordered a surprise package filled with goodies from chicken breasts to biscuits for her father and step mother who are sheltering in place in Massachusetts. Another friend took lists of groceries from her mother and landlord and delivered them so the other women didn’t need to venture out.

Why didn’t these people order food online? Those who do report wait time for delivery is almost a week. Good luck if you’ve run out of milk, coffee or juice.

Have you heard of or experienced similar loving, even life-saving gestures by friends and family?

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4 Responses to “Service of Little Things Mean A Lot”

  1. Lucrezia Said:

    I haven’t heard anything yet, but there’s still time. The greatest gift of all will be to emerge from this epidemic in one piece.

  2. Jeanne Byington Said:


    I’m with you: Health at the end of the pandemic will be the greatest gift and a huge, not a little one.

  3. Martha Takayama Said:

    I appreciate the questions this pot poses. I am happy to report several lovely , but relatively unheralded recent kind, thoughtful and selfless gestures related to the awful situation permeating all our lives.

    Two weeks ago as health fears grew more intense my step-daughter, who lives in Manhattan, surprised husband and me with a delivery of a very carefully thought cornucopia of foods which are continuing to sustain us splendidly. It. was a totally spontaneous gesture and so kind in that I continue to be moved by it. And that happened after she had come to visit not long before despite a less grave but still present risk.

    The daughter of one of my dearest friends was diagnosed with Covid 19 several days after returning from New York to her parents’ home in MA. The local hospital arranged for her to be sent by ECMO to Boston’s Mass. General Hospital. The number of people of all faiths and nationalities friends and friends of friends asked to pray for her
    swelled and somehow “Prayers for Laura” trended on Twitter and was picked up by NBC! In the meantime she has continued to make very slow, but real progress and her parents both of whom have the Virus are comforted as all their friends are by the support they are receiving.

    A man in his 30’s working from home and woman already retired both have made themselves available to do errands for others!

    As for the grand and grandiose gestures you refer to in the beginning of your article, I must confess to a certain cynicism. In the case of both Sheldon Adelson and Robert Kraft, I think both their boundless sense of entitlement and desire for recognition as well as their adulation of President Trump are so overpowering that it is hard to feel moved by what essentially are a variation of painless publicity gestures.

  4. Jeanne Byington Said:


    I was being lazy–it’s getting worse sheltering at home–and picked terrible examples of grand gestures. I remembered them and should have looked for alternatives. There are many, thank goodness.

    Glad Laura is recovering. I believe in prayer used in this way. I hope her family recovers as well.

    What a fun and welcome surprise you received from your step daughter. Good for her!

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