A link of healing kindness forged across the continent
Photo courtesy of Gina Patti
It did not take long for Bruce Bailey of San Diego to learn the identity of the mother and two children from Martha's Vineyard that he met in a departure terminal at Logan Airport in Boston the Sunday following Christmas.
Mr. Bailey wanted to let the Vineyard family know how much their kindness during that meeting meant to him. He called The Martha's Vineyard Times.
"Do you think there's any chance we can find them?" he asked a reporter.
"Absolutely," the reporter said.
The resulting story, "Healing notes of kindness span generations and the nation," appeared Wednesday evening on mvtimes.com and in print Thursday, January 27.
The first online comment, posted by Katherine May-Waite, appeared at 7:12 pm, last Wednesday. "I know, as I'm sure many others do, who the kindhearted mother and wonderful daughters are referred to in this article. I know they were on the last flight out of Logan that day of the terrible snow storm. We will call and be sure to bring this article to their attention"
The second comment was posted at 7:58 pm that same night.
"This story touched my heart very deeply. That strangers could meet in an airport waiting area and just reach out and touch another person's soul has restored my faith in human kind. It makes it all the more touching to me because I am the father of Kaya and Grace, and I am married to Gina, their mom and stepmom. I Love them, and they truly are wonderful girls. Robert Oslyn. Oak Bluffs."
A friend called Gina Patti of Oak Bluffs Wednesday night and said there was a story about her on mvtimes.com. Ms. Patti read the story and shared it with her two girls.
On Thursday, she called Mr. Bailey's telephone number in California and left a message.
"I yelled when I got your voice mail," Mr. Bailey emailed her. "The dogs thought I was crazy, but now they know that my prayers have been answered."
In a telephone conversation Thursday afternoon, Ms. Patti told The Times, "It wasn't luck. We were all meant to meet."
Ms. Patti said the story has provided a lesson for her daughters and others who hear about it.
"You really can make a difference," she said. "And it doesn't take much to be kind."
Friday, Mr. Bailey left a voice mail message for Times managing editor Nelson Sigelman.
"There's just been an extraordinary outpouring of goodwill and it is all about the girls," Mr. Bailey said. "It is about Grace and Kaya and their kindness and their abilities at that young age to reach out. I just can't tell you what the outpouring of joy — that's it joy — from my friends here (San Diego) has been and it is being shared and shared and shared, and that's a good thing, because maybe more people will understand that's what we need.
I am just thrilled to have spoken with the family yesterday and I promise that I will see you all this summer."
In an online comment posted late Friday, Gina, Grace and Kaya responded to Mr. Bailey and the many commentors on mvtimes.com touched by their story.
"Thank you all for making this possible and such a positive experience. Bruce, our encounter meant as much to us as it did you. I am sure we'll see you on this special Island and out in California. Nelson Sigelman, thanks for picking up that last phone call of the day, taking an interest in the story and beautifully capturing its essence! And, of course, thanks to all you, the wonderful community on Martha's Vineyard, who has embraced and supported our family throughout the years."