An Intentional Act of Kindness

“If you want to look for a needle in haystack, go ahead.”  said Gary Gaddist’s co-workers at the New York City’s Parks Department.  Fortunately for Danielle Hatherly-Carroll the sanitation truck driver was up to the challenge.   So  Gary began digging through hundreds of garbage bags that were stored on Randalls Island and he found it!  What did he find? 

Well, let me back up.

The day before, Haatherly-Carroll, an Australian artist, had been teaching an outdoor art class in Battery Park.  “It was really, really busy and we were wiping our hands frequently and throwing rags and towels into a large clear trash bag that one of my students had brought along,” Danielle told Good Morning America.

In the middle of the night, Danielle said she woke up and felt her left hand and her wedding ring was missing.  She said, “I didn’t have one doubt in mind that it was down in Battery Park.  She sneaked out of bed and dressed trying not to wake her husband, Steve.  This was the second time she had lost her ring.  This one was a replacement for their 10 year anniversary.  Just as she was about to leave, Steve woke up and said, “Are you crazy!  You can’t go alone!”

So, together, they arrived at Battery Park at 4:15 am.  They went through some bags there and didn’t find the ring.  Then Danielle noticed a garbage truck parked on the edge of the Park.  As a last resort, she left  this note: 

This is where Gary Gaddist saved the day.  Normally, he would have been off that day, but was working overtime.  He came in and saw the note on his truck.  Gaddist decided to help and called the Carrolls to find out exactly what he was looking for.  Forty-five minutes later he had found the ring!

As you can imagine both Danielle and Steve were ecstatic!  When asked why he took the time to look for a “Needle in a Haystack.” Gaddist said, “It was a love thing…..“She sounded like a nice person. “I’m glad I could help.

I share this heart warming story because it seems like there are a few good lessons we can learn from it.

First, there are a lot of nice people in the world.  It’s easy to generalize about people being uncaring.   Inconsiderate.  Or selfish.  But not Gary Gaddist.  He went the extra mile.  Made an extra effort.  And put himself out for a complete stranger.  But that story is repeated over and over again.  When there a flood.  A hurricane. An earthquake.  When illness strikes.  When misfortune occurs. When death invades our home.  Often times people we don’t even know, offer help.  Contribute resources.  Or share a hug.  There’s just a lot of good folks around.

Secondly, we’re reminded that the seemingly impossible is possible.  Often an insurmountable task is indeed surmountable with effort. Energy. Expectation.  Gary’s co-workers said the chances of finding that ring were like looking for “a needle in a haystack.”  Maybe?  But he found it.  It was possible.  It did happen!  What task are you facing that looks enormous?  What challenge are you confronting that seems unconquerable?  What problem are you grappling with that looks unsolvable?  Give it a shot.  Really try. Give it all you got.  And see what happens.

Thirdly, we our touched by Gary’s sentiment–“It’s a love thing.”  In recognition “The Broken-promises coalition commended Gary Gaddist’s effort.  The organization’s representative. Clay Darrohn, stated, “We believe that the efforts of Mr. Gaddist in returning the wedding ring to its rightful owner is a testament to just how much of a ‘love thing’ a wedding ring is. A wedding ring is more than a piece of jewelry; it is a powerful representation of the love between two people.”  Indeed.  If you’re married, take a look at your ring. It’s not just a piece of jewelry.  Remember your wedding day. Your vows.  Your commitment.  Your loyalty.

Thanks, Gary, for showing “the milk of human kindness.”  And for giving all us a heart warming story that teaches some important life lessons.

–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman


Filed under Kindness

4 responses to “An Intentional Act of Kindness

  1. Love is going the extra mile out of our way for a complete stranger, and so many more things.

    God’s love is immeasurable, and for that I am grateful.

  2. Billie

    SCARY THOUGHT – would i have done the same thing that gary did? I will dwell on this today and pray that i might live up to his example.

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