It’s crazy to think that we’ll be a part of future History lessons: “The devastating virus that wiped out hundreds of thousands”; “The time the air was so clear in India that the Himalayan peaks could be seen”, or: “the graceful instance wherein we saw two Australian women wrestle for toilet paper in Coles”.
I have to be honest, when news first broke out of this COVID-19, my initial reaction was: “been there with Swine Flu, no big deal”. Boy was I wrong. When things got worse, I was reveling in the thought of booking cheap flights to satisfy my traveling needs. I will again put my hand up and say how very irresponsible and ignorant it was of me to think in such a manner. Subsequently, news of European countries locking down emerged, and my immediate thought was: well I’m probably not going to die even if I catch the damn thing. This is where, upon about 2 minutes of further reflection, I realized that this was the wrong mind-set to have. This is not the time to think selfishly.
While all of this was happening, my mum was already at work sewing masks for the residents in my village. Who, in the meantime, were petrified. I currently am staying with my parents in a small rural village of about 50 in France. All of the residents are above the age of 50, most of whom in their 70s. While I was busy dismissing the whole ordeal, my mum had taken it upon herself to sew masks for every single person in the village. And not only that, she called up every neighbour, offering her services as a grocery mule, delivering to each household. These are all people who are vulnerable, scared, and alone, with no clue as to how to acquire their next batch of provisions. It was inspiring.
Daily, we get new people calling up or dropping in, requesting masks for their parents, grandparents, kids, mailman, dog. It’s surreal. And let me tell you, these are premium quality; she spends hours creating the most unique, stylish and comfortable masks. Different patterns and fabrics to choose from, you name it. Lately she’s been shipping the masks as well! Friends and family have placed their orders through Whatsapp and she puts them in envelopes to distribute across the world. She refuses payment, despite even being offered a job to create masks.
Not all heroes wear capes, despite my numerous requests for her to sew herself one.
This whole idea of inciting altruism, it’s powerful. Seeing what my mum was doing was enough for me to offer my help. I can’t sew to save my life, but I trek 9km daily to get the bread from the bakery atop a hill, and have been asking around if anyone wants me to pick up a fresh baguette or even a bottle of wine to help them through these difficult times. Ask yourself if there’s something more you can do, because there likely always is.
Thank you for the lesson in humility and forethought, Mum. And start wearing a cape.
About the Author
Stan Scott is a Korean speaking horror-guru who's goal in life is to connect with as many people as possible, make them laugh and to strengthen his legs walking across various countries.
He also has a passion for building birdhouses and a degree from the "Harvard of Canada."
To see more of Stan's work, check out his writers page.