This article appeared in the May 11, 2020 edition of the Monitor Daily.

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Amid pandemic, people keep finding new ways to cheer up others

Paul Christian Gordon/ZUMA/Newscom
Andrew Miller, co-owner of Tulip Town, poses for a photo in a tulip field in Washington's Skagit Valley on April 19, 2020. The cancelation of the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival in response to the COVID-19 pandemic has devastated growers who represent 75% of the annual U.S. commercial tulip production. The festival, traditionally held from April 1-30, draws one million visitors to the region annually.

Today, we look at a Chinese disinformation campaign in Europe, a contact-tracing app in India, grandmothers taking on Poland’s right-wing government, a grocery worker’s account of life in the aisles, and inspiring global points of progress. First, a nod to other uplifting activities we’ve seen in recent days. 

You can’t help but be inspired by the many ways people express their determination to sustain their fellow beings in trying times.

Some offer succor with food, like Sikh members of the Guru Nanak Darbar gurdwara in the U.K. who make 850-plus meals daily for National Health Service workers.

Others deploy color. Friends who recently took ownership of a tulip farm in their Washington hometown were undaunted as the pandemic upended local Mother’s Day sales and a tulip festival. They brought the beauty to their fans instead, shipping blossoms and live-streaming the vibrant tulip fields at sunset.

There’s humor: Last week, a Belgian mother and daughter wanted a McDonald’s meal – but lacked a car for the drive-thru-only. So they built a cardboard version. Fellow motorists, including police, cheered as they “drove” through. “It’s nice if we have done something to make people laugh,” said mom. “We need that.”

And there are love notes. Mothers in a Vancouver, British Columbia, nursing home got those Sunday from offspring who paraded outside with flowers, balloons, and a bagpiper. On V-E Day in Dumfries, Scotland, Edna Wells got a video call from actor Joanna Lumley to ask about her World War II work in the Women’s Royal Naval Service. Ms. Lumley asked her to walk outside. There Ms. Wells found Capt. Chris Smith, with drummer and piper and cheering neighbors, ready to award the medal she had never collected. Her voice wavered as she saluted and said, “Thank you for making this the best day of my life.”

This article appeared in the May 11, 2020 edition of the Monitor Daily.

Read 05/11 edition
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