(The following is a letter that appears in today’s Spartanburg Herald Journal’s Letters to the Editor. This is the full letter before being edited to fit the space limitations of the paper)
Working for a non-profit, I am used to asking for favors, asking for money, and asking for time. I work for HUB-BUB, a local organization dedicated to building community through dynamic arts and ideas. Our latest idea was a large public art mural in a prominent downtown location. We found Molly Rose Freeman, a Memphis, TN based artist that is making a name for herself in the street art community with murals in various parts of the Southeast. The next part of the puzzle was to find funding and the community-minded folks at RJ Rockers stepped up to fund the project and bring Molly to Spartanburg for a week as a visiting artist. Others stepped in to lend scaffolding, ladders, and time, but halfway through the project we realized that a boom lift would be necessary to reach the highest parts of the wall and complete the mural. This was not in the budget. A donation from a supporter helped to defray the cost of a day’s rental, which we thought would be sufficient. When it became obvious that we needed the lift for a second day, I gathered together newspaper articles about the project and went to the rental company to plead for the donation of a second day’s rental. I showed the articles and spoke of our non-profit status and what we were trying to do with the project, but the manager was not willing. A stranger standing nearby became engaged in the conversation and inquired about what we were doing. Without even knowing about our organization she said that it sounded like a good project and asked the rental company if they would let us have it for a second day if she paid half. After some consideration they agreed. The stranger pulled out a hundred dollar bill and handed it to them saying that she felt blessed and wanted to help. With a lump in my throat, I thanked her for her generous donation and took down her name and address. I’m not sure if she would want her name mentioned in the paper so I won’t include it here but I do want to thank her again. I couldn’t believe the beautiful act of kindness and generosity that she exhibited. She didn’t seem like an incredibly wealthy person, just someone that was willing to make a sacrifice for a positive community project. She certainly set an example for me and I’m sure that this story will inspire others too. Thank you stranger and friend.
Stephen J. Long
Director, The Showroom at HUB-BUB