Sometimes it takes a disaster to bring out the best in people, or just to open their eyes to the kindness and compassion that is already there.
In the past few days, newspapers and TV newscasts in New York and New Jersey have been full of stories of local residents helping people in areas that were devastated by Superstorm Sandy and a subsequent nor’easter that together caused billions of dollars in damage, threw millions into darkness and claimed more than 100 lives.
Count among those lending a helping hand a group that doesn’t get a lot of credit for their goodwill and support — the employees of your local pay TV company. Over the past several days, I have heard accounts from MSOs and telcos on the East Coast of employees, many of whom had suffered their own personal losses from the storms, who dropped everything to assist their fellow workers and customers in need.
Take the Comcast Chicago direct-sales supervisor who, with his team, drove a food truck the 750 or so miles from their region to serve hot meals to Comcast workers in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. They even brought non-perishable food to donate to a pair of local food banks in Southern New Jersey.
In Northern New Jersey, where downed trees, lost power and scarce fuel were the issues, a Comcast team in Union, N.J., stepped up with generators to bring power to a local Getty service station so it could provide fuel to residents.
At Time Warner Cable in New York, technicians at a mobile charging station in the Red Hook section of Brooklyn, helped a stranded handicapped woman escape her apartment to vote on Election Day, toting a generator to the street below her building and recharging her electric wheelchair in time for her to get out and vote.
It has been, in the words of Comcast’s Freedom Region spokesman Jeff Alexander, “awe-inspiring,” adding that efforts have been company-wide.
“It’s been a selfless commitment from all parts of the company,” Alexander said. “Hundreds of people have called or have just shown up to see how they can help.”
So the next time someone tells you how thoughtless or unfeeling their cable company is, remember that sometimes the greatest acts of kindness come from the most unsung sources.