One of my favorite movie quotes comes from Gandalf in Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, who gives his take on the overarching battle of good against evil.
“I have found,” Gandalf says, “that it is the small things, the everyday deeds of ordinary folks, that keep the darkness at bay. Small acts of kindness and love.”
Maybe I like that quote because it gives me hope that everyone, no matter how insignificant they may seem to the eyes of others, can change the world for good.
One such example of a seemingly ordinary woman doing extraordinary things comes from a recent story out of New York City.
Coretta James, a resident of Queens, New York, is on a mission.
Over the last four years, she has spent the last four years writing handwritten thank you cards to members of the New York Police Department (NYPD).
So far, she’s given out 4,000.
“I have tremendous respect for the uniform: military, firemen and cops,” James told The New York Post in an interview. “They are not used to being thanked. And I feel for them. They need encouragement. I used to see guys with 30 or 35 years on the job but no longer.”
The text of her cards is simple, yet sincere. She writes in each one:
“Thank you for your service in the NYPD. It takes a special person to take a job that every time you put on your uniform, you put your life at risk . . . Grateful for your service.”
According to The Post, “James typically takes stacks of epistles into a precinct and asks whomever is on duty for specific names of police present, so she can personally address the notes before giving them out. Each envelope is adorned with an American flag sticker.”
These cards have made a big impact on the police officers who have received them.
After James delivered one of her cards to an officer, he told her, “In my 26 years on the job, this is my first thank-you card I’ve gotten.”
“It made me realize what I was doing was very much needed,” James said in recounting the story.
But she isn’t done yet.
There are 36,000 cops with the NYPD, and she intends to handwrite a thank you note to every one of them.
“I have a lot of writing to do,” she told The Post.
James is hoping she can inspire others to write to the police officers in their area.
“I hope people join in and do this in their own communities,” she said. “It’s really so needed.”
Photo from The New York Post.