The news these days is often depressing at worst and frustrating at best. It’s easy to get caught up in the spin cycle and let it get us down. Never fear… The News Blender has you covered. Once a week, we feature Something Good and, in return, all you have to do is tell us something good that has happened to you this week, something you are thankful for, a joke, a cute animal story, an inspiring tale of heroics, a Random Act of Kindness… SOMETHING good.
Today’s Something Good is the power of friendship.
Benjamin Smith and Marcus Ellis, of Pittsford, New York, met through their work of building cell towers and quickly became fast friends. Ellis is black, Smith is white. As the country reels over the death of George Floyd, the two friends came up with a simple concept they hoped would spark conversations in their neighborhood – they placed some lawn chairs in Smith’s driveway alongside a cooler of beer and put up signs that said “Black or White, relax and have a beer”.
They did have a few takers, especially as the story of these two different friends took off on social media. Then Brad Paisley sent them hundreds of dollars of beer and chatted with them over Zoom, wanting to listen and learn, and the story garnered even more attention.
Marcus called the duo “Batman and Robin” and told WROC-TV, “I think we’re just goofy, silly, and like to have fun.” He was serious though when he characterized the death of George Floyd as “another one down”. He continued, “It’s pretty sad. People have a right to protest, people have a right to share their voice, but there’s a right way going about things, and a wrong way going about things.”
Benjamin is a Marine and said “I fought for a free America, a just America. When I heard about the George Floyd incident, it really, really upset me. That’s not what I fought for.”
The friends are overwhelmed with attention their simple idea has received.
Benjamin said, “It’s insane. It’s such a cool feeling that we’re making such a big impact across the community, and what seems to be across the U.S.”
Marcus echoed his friend, saying, “It’s awesome. It feels so great.”
Benjamin was comforted by his best friend when he became emotional over Paisley’s help. Through tears Smith said, “Through the rioting and protests, I felt like I was being torn apart, and it was rough … And this is what builds it back up.”
Friendship, conversation over a beer, really listening to each other and seeing the humanity in faces unlike our own is the path to a better America. If friends and neighbors across the country and world could emulate Marcus Ellis and Benjamin Smith that would be something good.
Now it’s your turn… Tell me something good.