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Inspiring Stories

Fantastic Friday: Freebies Edition

And for the feel good story of the week, we take ourselves down to South Carolina, in a coffee shop where customers have been leaving money to pay for other people’s drinks.

It all started two years ago at Corner Perk, a small, locally owned coffee shop, when a customer paid her bill and left $100 extra, saying she wanted to pay for everyone who ordered after her until the money ran out. The staff fulfilled her request, and the woman, who wishes to remain anonymous, has returned to leave other large donations every two to three months…

…It took a while, but word has started to spread around the tiny coastal town, home to about 12,000 people. Now, more and more customers have been leaving money to pay for others’ food and drink. Cooke says some people don’t even buy anything when they come in; they just stop to donate and head right back out.

And in another story of people being Good Samaritans, educators in a small school district in Pennsylvania have decided to continue to work to educate children even though the local government doesn’t have the money to continue paying their salaries.  The state’s education secretary has said that because “the district mismanaged its money, its employees shouldn’t expect any help.” So unlike the state government, the teachers decided not to punish the children for someone else’s mistake and to work for free, at least for the time being.

Sara Ferguson, who’s been a teacher in Chester Upland—a 3,700-student school system just south of Philadelphia—calls the situation “alarming,” but she told the The Philadelphia Inquirer that she and her colleagues have committed to staying on the job because “the students don’t have any contingency plan. They need to be educated.”

Acting assistant superintendent Thomas Persing says that thanks to the “spirit of cooperation” shown by teachers, bus drivers, cafeteria workers, and vendors, the schools will remain open after the money runs out today. At a recent union meeting the teachers committed to staying on “as long as we are individually able.” But the teachers and other staff have their own financial responsibilities, so Persing knows that eventually they’ll have to look for other employment.

In many ways, you could look at this story and say that it’s terrible that this is even necessary in the first place.  But the spirit exhibited in both of these small towns in South Carolina and Pennsylvania are exactly what is needed to help address the issues America faces which I touched on yesterday.

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