Thank You

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SEAN DIETRICH

By SEAN DIETRICH

I just wanted to say thank you. Thank you. That’s it.

You don’t get thanked nearly enough for all you do. And I’m here to correct that. Even if only for a few moments. I hope you know how grateful we all are.

And by “we all,” I mean us. The whole human race. So thank you. We appreciate you.

Thank you to the old man in Walmart who was in the self-checkout lane when he paid for a young Latina woman’s groceries after her card was rejected.

Thank you to the teenage boy who bounced his screaming baby sister on his hip while paramedics loaded his mother into an ambulance on the interstate. I passed the accident on the way home. It was awful. Police cars everywhere.

Thank you to the officer who took the crying baby into his arms and held her against his chest while the teenage boy crawled into the ambulance with his mother.

Thank you to the elderly man who helped change a flat tire for six older men stranded on I-285 outside Atlanta.

The man who changed the tire never knew he was helping a carload of six former inmates who recently moved into transitional halfway housing; who, even though they are now sober, law-abiding citizens, are unemployed, and largely unimportant to those around them.

Thank you, whoever you are, for faking like you’re in a good mood for your kids, even though your heart is broken.

Thank you for caregiving for your husband/wife/mom/dad/son/daughter/relative/stranger.

God bless all who change the diapers of adult patients in nursing homes, and do it in such a way that there is no loss of dignity for either party.

Thank you for supporting your local musicians. Thanks for ordering an extra beer and placing an extra tip in the jar before requesting “Freebird” as a joke because you think you are being original.

Thank you for tipping your waitress. You might have no idea what it’s like to live on tips. You might have no clue what it feels like to be forced to reduce yourself to being cheerful toward restaurant customers in hopes of earning enough ones and fives to pay your bills and, God willing, to send your daughter on her senior class trip.

Thank you all who helped your communities in the aftermath of the mass shootings that received less coverage than the Uvalde disaster.

Thank you to the people the world never saw on TV. The people that John Q. Public forgot about.

To the hometown preachers in Buffalo, New York, who were called upon to deliver eulogies, sermons and homegoing services for the 10 who were killed.

To the local government employees who cried behind closed doors because they cannot unsee the grisly images they spent all day looking at in Tops Supermarket on Buffalo’s East Side.

Thank you to the crime-scene workers in Tulsa, Oklahoma, who picked up the pieces in the wake of a shooting which killed four — three of whom were hospital staffers.

Thank you to the funeral homes who handled final preparations for Dr. Stephanie Husen, Dr. Preston Phillips, receptionist Amanda Glenn and William Love, who lost their lives when a gunman entered Saint Francis Hospital.

Lastly, thank you to those in Uvalde who helped their neighbors during a hailstorm of anguish while we Americans were busy arguing with each other.

Thank you to the people at Uvalde Memorial Hospital. To the doctors, nurses, medical staffers, cafeteria workers, cooks, dishwashers, delivery drivers, hospital custodians, maintenance persons, medical receptionists, volunteers, chaplains and everyone else who keeps that place running.

Thank you to Uvalde’s EMTs, first responders, fire-medics, deputies, peace officers, dispatchers, traffic directors, squad-car mechanics, Border Patrol agents, FBI workers and all the faceless cops who worked triple, quadruple and quintuple shifts, operating on no sleep and intravenous caffeine.

To local mothers who watched neighborhood kids, while kids’ parents worked overtime to help their little town.

Thank you to all who were charged with the awful task of using mops and buckets to clean up the crime-scene aftermath at Robb Elementary.

To the gophers who picked up takeout pizza for all the emergency workers.

To the people who did their work for no attention, no vainglory, no media exposure and who chose not to allow their faces to be plastered all over social while they dutifully practiced their goodwill.

And thank you, whoever you are. Thank you for waking up today even though you didn’t sleep great last night. Thank you for doing your work, and doing it well.

Thank you for loving your neighbors, your coworkers, your townspeople, relatives and enemies, even when you don’t feel like it.

You might never know how lovely you make this world simply by being in it.

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