I know, I know. I keep telling you about good stories (or bad) from the big city of Philadelphia. And it’s not that there aren’t a lot of good stories here in Chester County. It’s just that lately there have been some real head shakers – good and bad.
The bad? That an Eagles fan was tossed from the sidewalk when he tried to peek in on the team practicing at the Novacare facility.
The good? There’s an awesome follow up in today’s Daily News about a kid in the city whose family was short on cash. The boy needed school supplies and other stuff to go back to school but there was none. So he took to staging his own sidewalk sale to raise the money. He sold games, whatever he could find, to generate the $300 he needed.
Here’s a link to the follow by columnist Ronnie Polaneczky: http://bit.ly/NOIWu3.
She wrote the original column last week about Matthew Marrero, the eighth-grade student.
Now before I let you in on the end of the story I want to review the reputation of Philadelphia and the region in general. That is, among the rest of our nation.
People tend to view us as rude, arrogant and willing to get in your face for no reason at all. We throw snowballs at Santa, we toss batteries at J.D. Drew, we have grown men puking on little kids and pretty much we’re not very nice people.
I say that’s all a bunch of bull.
While I would never condone tossing objects of any sort or puking for any reason or on anyone, the bad behavior in the Philadelphia area is no worse than anywhere else. In fact, there are a lot of large cities that are way worse than Philly. (And no I wouldn’t say New York is one of them. You should know by now that New York and I have a lovefest going on…)
With that in mind, let me return to the story of Matthew Marrero.
As Ronnie Polaneczky tells us, the young man had sold everything he could but was shy $150. But before you could say “The City of Brotherly Love” the public sprang into action.
“Readers have responded from the heart and the wallet to the tale of a broke kid with more hustle than self-pity. Close to $3,000 has come in for Matt, plus gift cards to places like Staples, Target and Foot Locker, so he should hit the ground running at Penn Treaty Middle School Friday.
“Such generosity isn’t unusual. Daily News readers are benevolent folks. When a story moves them to help, they can’t get their checkbooks open fast enough.”
What surprised Ronnie (but didn’t surprise me based on her original report) was that once Matthew had everything he needed, he managed to pass forward all of the good tidings from his fellow Philadelphians.
“One girl, he says, had only one copybook and one pencil for school. Her parents are out of the picture at the moment, and the family with whom she is staying is having a rough time. Now that Matt’s luck has changed – readers have pulled up to his sidewalk stand and handed him bags of back-to-school goodies – he wants to change her luck as well.
“So he has given her a backpack, copybooks, paper, pens and pencils and the uniform she needs to be compliant with her school’s dress code.
“’She really needed help,’” he says.”
People from all walks came out to help him. The wife of Charlie Manuel, Camden’s interim schools superintendent, a guy who bought a new computer who gave Matthew his old one, an Eagles ticketholder who gave him tickets to a game, some LaSalle grad students among many others.
Those who could help did help.
So the myth that we are all just a bunch of rude, vicious thugs is just that – a myth.
At this point I am wondering if there is a Matthew Marrero story here in Chester County. Who is doing wonderful things like him? What children are raising money, passing good fortunes forward to those who are in need?
Let me know and I will go get that story.
There are lots of good works, good people and great things happening. Now I want to know about them…
There is a Matthew Marrero here in Chester County. I know it.
— Andy Hachadorian