I’ve been a restaurant server for many years. It was my first job when I turned 16 and it ended up being my longest running gig. Serving tables is what put me through college and what helped me support my son. Of course, it wasn’t always easy. At times, it was the hardest gig imaginable. I’ve been disrespected, I’ve been yelled at, and I’ve cried. Despite all that, I’ve looked forward to coming to work. That’s because everyone once and a while I would meet a wonderful customer. I would meet someone that not only would tip me nicely but would also show me respect. That’s why whenever I see stories about customers giving huge tips to deserving waiters, it makes me smile. I know just how hard it is and I know just how much an unexpected blessing can turn someones life around.
Recently, I read a story on Huffington Post which brought me to tears. A waitress was left a generous $1,200 tip. The single mom who received the tip was brought to tears as well. She did something amazing with the money and took her children on a shopping spree for Christmas. I can just picture the joy that those kids felt. It was amazing that she didn’t even think to spend the money on herself. She selflessly wanted to give her children a Christmas to remember. That’s when you know that the money was given to the right person. The waitress almost took the day off, as well! It’s amazing to think just how quickly someones fate can change just by one small decision.
She wasn’t the only one that received a tip like that. It actually happens every now and then. According to Detroit Newsanother lucky lady received a big tip. This time hers was %3,000. She plans on using the money to pay off debt. I’d like to think that karma does exist and these big tips find their way to deserving waitresses. All too often we hear about the bad that happens in the world. That’s why even though it’s something as simple as a tip, it still makes a big difference.
Many waiters and waitresses depend solely on tips. Although some people realize this, unfortunately the majority does not. That’s why one big tip can make up for not receiving any. It’s heartwarming that someone goes out of their way to do something that they didn’t need too. They simply want to make a difference in someone else’s lives. The only payment they need is seeing the joy spread across their servers face. Often, these people who make the donation wish to remain anonymous because they don’t do it for the recognition. It’s amazing.
HIV has become a major issue for many people today. Not just on a national level, but on an international level. The UN set out the heft mission of ending aids fifteen years ago in 2000. Just in the last July report, UNAIDS has announced that they had already reached their goal of getting the treatment to help 30 million people. More details about the treatment and what it how it has improved the community can be read about here.
Although the treatment has definitely been more successful in some parts than other parts, the treatment has been overall quite successful. The goal it has reached so far was estimated to be reached in another nine months. With this continued rate of success, the epidemic of AIDs is estimated to be over by 2030, according to the UNAIDs team.
With the removal of AIDs in our society, we can not only have a healthier society but also not have to worry so much. So much money goes into medication and treatment of AIDs with no real cure. Now, we can not only get rid of the virus but make the lives of those affected so much easier. Many people who are affected do not have the means to afford the medication and treatment that is used to lessen the effects of HIV. Most people either spend large sums of money to make life easier or die from the virus. With this treatment, people do not have to spend so much and can have an easier life overall.
The best part about this whole treatment from the UNAIDs is that they are giving people in places who do not have the same medical technology an opportunity to benefit. Not only is HIV treatment expensive in many of these places but often the treatment is just unavailable because their medical system is not the same. Now, they have an opportunity to have access to Western healthcare. 15 million people who previously would not have been helped and left to suffer have now become successful stories. 15 million people on this world that we all share. The results from this treatment show it is effective and show that is has been a great investment, not just for now but for later generations.
Here are some more details about the logistics behind the treatment and how what its impact actually means for the world at large.
The news doesn’t always have to be bad. Evidence of positive news can be difficult to find, but there is plenty of it out there. Recently, I read an amazing piece at dailygood that inspired me to write a recap of the story.
Bill Strickland presented a TED talk recently, entitled “rebuilding a neighborhood with beauty, dignity and hope.” His message was clearly one of hope and filled with positive spirit. As the title suggests, the story he told was of redemption, both personal and community wide. Mr. Strickland began life in a rough neighborhood of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He explained that during his high school years he was introduced to art, as a form of expression. In a public school art class he first saw clay taking shape and was mesmerized. The idea that the world of possibilities can be limitless took shape.
The same art teacher who showed him the world of art took another step and introduced him to college. The teacher took Mr. Strickland to The University of Pittsburgh and helped him become a probationary college student. Today Bill Strickland is a trustee of University of Pittsburgh and has become an inspiration to countless kids who come from tough neighborhoods. His message is, “don’t give up on the poor kids because you never know what’s going to happen to those children in life.”
Perhaps the crowning achievement of Mr. Strickland, so far, is the Bidwell Training Center. The center is located in one of the roughest neighborhoods in Pittsburgh and provides a new start to people who need job training. Mr. Strickland explains that Pittsburgh was once a major producer of steel, but the industry has long since moved away from the area. The economic toll on the community was devastating and many people were left trained for work that was no longer available. Since that time new workers have also entered the depressed employment marketplace and find it difficult to find any job that will provide them with training. The Bidwell Training Center aims to provide relief to families in this area by providing skills that are in demand in the current employment market.
Mr. Strickland went on to discuss his work for the poor and how his message has spread to other communities. His work now echoes throughout the country. I hope that it continues spreading for years to come.
Fast food restaurants Chipotles and Starbucks are increasing wages for their lowest paid workers. This move comes after many of its customers have said they support raising the minimum wage for the lowest paid employees at the Starbucks and Chipotles. It also comes amidst pressure that the minimum wage paid to fast food employees is simply not enough to survive on and leads to poverty.
Increasing the minimum wages for new employees and providing pay increases for those already working at Starbucks and Chipotles comes at a price. The two chains are increasing the prices of items on their menus to offset the additional expense of higher wages for its employees. Starbucks has already raised the price of many of its drinks by five to twenty cents. Starbucks says that the wage increases could cost the company about $140 million. That is a small amount, when you consider that the company makes billions of dollars in profits every year. Starbucks also says that as the economy expands and more job openings appear raising the minimum wage at the company will help attract and retain employees.
It should be noted that Starbucks is planning on expanding aggressively in the United States and abroad, and if it cannot find and keep employees at its stores, then its policy of expansion will fail. Besides increasing wages, Starbucks also says it will provide one free food item to its employees per shift and provide tuition reimbursement for its employees if they meet criteria.
The move to raise minimum wages and give pay raises to low paid employees is a positive sign for workers in the fast food industry, and other low paying jobs in retail and healthcare. Such wage increases should help many struggling families get out of poverty and increase their take home pay. Wages have simply not kept up with inflation. The dollar buys much less than it did 10 years ago. Yet the federal minimum wage remains at $7.25 per hour. The cost of living has increased significantly, yet wages have not. This has lead to decreased purchasing power, in other words people can’t buy as much goods as they used to with their pay. Stagnant wages also lead to poverty and a decreased standard of living.
Many cities and states are now debating on whether they should enact legislation to raise the minimum wage in their jurisdiction. Many cities and states already have higher minimum wage laws than the paltry $7.25 an hour outlined by the federal government. San Francisco has an minimum wage of $12.25 per hour which is almost double the minimum wage at the federal level. However, many states do not have higher minimum wage laws and those that do often have a marginally higher wage.
In New York State, the state government is looking into raising the minimum wage for fast food workers and other low paid employees after a series of labor hearings found shocking testimony from fast food workers. If a major legislative or executive action is taken place in New York it could have a domino effect all over the country. This would do wonders for many workers who deserve liveable wages in today’s economy.