Everyday Angels

A moment of ‘grace’ in hospital visit

The band Underground Detour, Danny Williams’(center) angels: Kelly Campbell, Mike Rash, Al Allison, Ralph McMillan, John Powell and David Barnhardt.
The band Underground Detour, Danny Williams’(center) angels: Kelly Campbell, Mike Rash, Al Allison, Ralph McMillan, John Powell and David Barnhardt. Catherine Browning

My friend Danny Williams had been in the ICU at Carolinas Medical Center. Danny is part of a seven piece band, Underground Detour. Danny’s angels, Kelly Campbell, Mike Rash, Al Allison, Ralph McMillan, John Powell and David Barnhardt, along with their music instruments, paid Danny a visit in his room.

After playing several of their favorite tunes, they finalized the hour by playing “Amazing Grace.” And then, in the doorway, stood the hospital chaplain who blessed all with a final prayer.

Danny called to tell me that this visit by his friends was one of the most memorable gatherings of his life. I feel sure that Danny’s angels feel the same. How sad to report that Danny passed away Tuesday. I will always cherish the years that he and I spent together as fellow Realtors. Danny was, indeed, a people-loving gentleman – and, yes, a gentle man. Catherine Browning, Charlotte

An angel picks up the tab

Connie Rigas, a court advocate for Safe Alliance, admits she was having a rough week.

Connie works with victims of domestic violence seeking protective orders at the Mecklenburg County Courthouse. She assists clients as they navigate the legal system and also hosts a children’s support group for 4- and 5-year-olds who have witnessed domestic violence.

“Lots and lots of sad stories that week,” said Connie. “I was overwhelmed with work and was just feeling kind of down.”

Before heading home, Connie made a stop at a local Michaels art supply store to purchase items for a staff meeting and her children’s support group.

She was standing in line with a full shopping cart and a man behind her asked, “Are you a teacher?”

Connie told him what she does at Safe Alliance. The man, in his mid-40s, wearing a business suit, jumped in front of Connie and told the cashier that he would pay her entire bill.

“He told me that he wished there were more people doing what I do in the community – that he just wanted to contribute to the cause and in a small way make a difference,” said Connie.

The man did not identify himself as he walked away smiling.

“I told him about a hundred times that his kindness made my day, made my week and made my year. It was just awesome,” she said.

“It’s a reminder that the work we are doing is critical and that we are making a difference in the lives of our clients when they need help the most,” she said. “And importantly, this kind of caring and generosity from a total stranger lets our clients know that people in the community care about them and want to help.” Bill Coy, Communications, Safe Alliance

Share your story

Did a stranger step in to offer you help out of the blue? Email rwilkerson@charlotteobserver.com. Include name, hometown and daytime number. Or mail Everyday Angels, Charlotte Observer, 600 S. Tryon, Charlotte, NC 28230. Roland Wilkerson

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