The Physics of Kindness
Start with the math then lead with your spirit
You can't help but reach out to support someone in need. After all we are the family of human kind. You may start with the analytics of a situation and a scientific approach to how to resolve an issue, but in the long run it's your spirit that guides you toward simple acts of human kindness. Sometimes it requires an intuition or observation to put you in action.
I knew I had to contact a dear friend because of something unusual that kept happening to me. A psychic awareness perhaps, or an energetic connection? I kept seeing flashes or images of experiences about a friend of mine who I had known for many years. Was this my mind's eye at work, or a guardian angel playing with my psyche? The desire to reach out to help my friend this year swooped in like pure energy. I couldn't turn away although I was hundreds of miles from the situation.
At first it was about the physics of action. What can I do to unravel this situation? How can I fix it? Initially it was about diagnosing and understanding with some research.
...but that's not quite how the story ultimately unfolded
Eddie is an incredible man. He is the oldest guy in our group of friends and has been a very important part of the art world in South Miami. For many years, he bought and sold paintings, and then volunteered in classrooms teaching children about art history. He is an all-around guy, and a good friend.
Years ago, he was the first to lend a helping hand when any one of his friends had an emotional challenge, break-up, or rotten day. He would drive over with a bag of homemade soups, lasagna, and a funny story. You would be so happy to see him, and hear his comic shtick that you couldn’t be sad. Sometimes he got us all together, and we snuck popcorn and roast beef sandwiches into the movies. We would laugh hysterically about our antics, and then go out for triple decker ice cream cones at 31 Flavors.
This last couple of years have changed a lot of things with the pandemic. The whole group of us has dwindled for many reasons. I have moved away and unfortunately lost touch with so many people as my own work and keeping my life organized took over. We manage however to face time on occasion, and talk to each other about the old times.
Very simply stated, Eddie’s fate has been compromised by senior abuse scams and very innocently got sucked into a few years of financial demise. My stories, are typically lighter, but in these recent months, I felt it important to bring it to everyone’s attention.
Keep your eye out for potential phone or mail scams
As writers we would find the layers of criminal activity in this story fascinating and the reality bites. Each situation is unique, impacts the people involved and so many times strips them of their life’s savings, their spirit, and leaves them at the mercy of family or government agencies. Although many of my stories that I present on Vocal are upbeat, this is a toughie, but I felt it needed to be documented.
It has called me to action in a very different way than how I typically operate, but when push comes to shove or there is a problem that I can be involved with to help in a positive way. I am going to get on board.
About five years ago, Eddie was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease but went to a community center to swim, began eating whole foods, and saw a series of great doctors. The disease went into a remission period for a short time.
Recently, he told me that his old car was acting up a little and he couldn’t get to his friends to check up on their lives. He had received a call from a recognized company, or so he thought, that typically gives away a large sum of money upon entering a contest. The fake company sold Eddie a bill of goods, and told him that if he gives them his car, they would offer him the most expensive Mercedes on the market, plus a new cell phone and brief case full of money. Months ago, I called Eddie, and he said, “They have my car, and my bank account information and I answered all of their questions”. I told my friend that this sounded serious, but he was convinced without a shadow of doubt, that he was going to receive a car and several millions of dollars. By this time my friend was receiving SSI, support from the government, and a small veteran’s stipend each month. He is also working with a fantastic social worker, who offered as much guidance and direction to protect Eddie’s finances, and redirect his outcome.
On the day I called, the scammers were actually in his apartment and had dropped off a large suitcase which turned out to be packed with books, not money. I still wonder why this exchange took place.
They were looking at his phone, and my concern was that they were taking my number and personal info as well as everyone else Eddie knew. At this point, I asked Eddie if I could call the Fraud department at the Fort Lauderdale Police Department and file a citizen complaint which I did, but was told that because I was not actually a witness, Eddie needed to follow up, and create a case for fraud.
What infuriates me is that these scammers convinced Eddie to provide them with account information, and they took his entire check of $ 750, or perhaps a little more out of the account. He was left bone dry. Our group, put our heads together, and we decided that we were going to intervene for a few months until Eddie could segregate his accounts, change a phone number and do whatever he could from disconnecting from the scam network. A group of us, a village, a concerned family unit, a neighbor next door, a community, or two strangers can do a whole lot of good when a goal is set before us. It took making a decision and taking action to help my friend and to support ameliorating his senior abuse situation. To date I have been able to pay for Eddie's, rent, which is not a lot, but at least he will not be evicted. Other friends, brought baskets with fresh fruit and veggies to Eddie, and the social worker has found an itinerant program to teach and alert seniors about the dangers of scam artists. My spirit tells me that Eddie is very lonely in these times. In my discussions with him, I have been able to contact family members who have now reached out to Eddie after many years, and are healing many memories.
The children in the family have come to visit their uncle, and have brought pictures of their art work in school, and have shared what is happening in their lives. For the moment there is a quelling and Eddie’s needs are being met. Will this be an ongoing process? Absolutely. I have decided that in and above my usual style, I won’t walk away. Eddie is a diamond and he is loved very much.
If you suspect that family or friends are experiencing an Elder Abuse situation you can contact: 1- 833–372–8311
Report the situation to your local police dept/ fraud division
Afterward- Two days ago, I was going to submit this story to the Hometown Challenge. I was actually thinking about the words of Dr. Martin Luther King and what I learned as a child about reaching out to help with simple acts of kindness. In my own family what I heard was:
"Lead with your heart, and you will know just where to be and what to do."
In our family we were a combined force of religions, and unique cultural heritage gifts. The most important thing was how we vibrated together as a family and what we could do for the outside world. It started with a dream, but then somebody always came up with an unusual process that would give back as volunteers. My mom used to say:
Give a little and a smile in return will light up the world
Eddie passed away quietly in a government sponsored apartment last night, and just before he passed a few days ago he asked how I was doing during these Covid times. I told him that I was missing my involvement with theater and the arts and physical interaction with children's writing projects. He suggested something that will be a major consideration for a project for me this year. His suggestion was to start a parent and child meet up at a neighborhood library. "Start with a story, and have the children develop an art piece to showcase for the community."
This is what Eddie did for the last five years of his life, quietly without a lot of fanfare. Eddie made a difference for every person that came into his life and has inspired me to commit to a project like this this year.
About the Creator
I travel with a nap sack on my back to gather stories and sit in the circle of humanity.
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