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Three little dots.

Today I prayed for three little dots. Today I begged for three little dots. Today my future depended on three little dots.

Today, while at lunch with coworkers celebrating a birthday, I got a text from my brother: "Something's happening at the airport. I love you guys."


At first I didn’t think twice of it, but then I quickly grabbed my phone.

“What do you mean?” I responded.

I waited for those three little dots to show that he was responding. Nothing.

My heart began to race. I jumped on Twitter and searched "Istanbul." The first tweet that came up read, "Two explosions reported at Istanbul airport."

I went numb.

72 hours earlier, I had dropped off my brother and his girlfriend, Kristine, at the Burbank Airport for the start of a European vacation they’d been looking forward to for months.

Photo by Noah Reich, used with permission.

Kristine had just graduated from nursing school at UCLA, and my brother had just finished the TV show he was working on. The timing could not have been more perfect for this trip, other than that they were embarking on a two-week adventure with no Wi-Fi on the night of the "Game of Thrones" finale.

"We landed in Turkey. Long flight but I slept through most of it. We’re going to stay in the lounge tonight and explore the city tomorrow." — Brother

"You best rest up and watch GoT while you have that Wi-Fi." — Me

A few minutes later, my brother texted my mom and me a photo of a guy sitting in front of his laptop that had a ship on it.

"This dude is watching last week’s episode." — Brother

"Well maybe he’ll go right into yesterday’s episode." — Mom

A couple hours had passed. My phone dinged.

"Well, I took mom’s advice and watched the next episode with him. He’s a Russian dude that didn’t speak a lick of English so he had Russian subtitles on. We didn’t share a language but after each crazy development we shared a universal gasp and tsk tsk tsk type response. Lol" — Brother

On my eighth birthday, my brother and I were robbed at knifepoint for a pair of Air Jordans.

My brother chased after the thief and ended up getting hit by a car that had jumped a light. That feeling of seeing my brother lying in the middle of a busy intersection motionless has haunted me through my entire life. That day, I was robbed of a pair of shoes and my innocence.

Three years later, the Columbine shooting took place. I was 10 years old. My brother and I would walk to school, and he would drop me off at the entrance of my elementary school while he proceeded to his middle school several blocks away. Every day, I’d fear that a scene like Columbine would take place at his school. Each day at 3:30 p.m., a wave of relief would overtake me when he arrived to pick me up.

That anxiety that was planted decades ago has been watered time and time again from 9/11 to the police shootings earlier this month.

Through my life, I have had to give credence to the quiet whisper that arises from my guts asking whether it’s safe to go to a movie theater, a concert, or a restaurant.

In the past few months, there have been shootings at two places I consider home — my alma mater (UCLA) and a gay club. When it comes to not feeling safe, I have enough fuel to keep me going for the rest of my life ... and that was before today.

As I waited to hear back from my brother, I frantically paced back and forth down Ventura Boulevard.

I thought of the frantic text messages that Mina Justice received from her son Eddie on the night of the Pulse nightclub shooting. I thought of the fear that was going through my brother and Kristine at the airport hearing active gunshots and the windows of the lounge being shattered by an explosion.

I thought of the phone call that I was going to have to make to my mom informing her of everything. I thought of that 8-year-old boy standing in the middle of the intersection years ago having to imagine what life was going to be like without his best friend.

And then, there they were: three little dots.

"We heard gunshots and an explosion. We’re in someone’s room at the hotel hiding. I’ll keep you posted as best I can." — Brother

My brother and Kristine escaped from the airport lounge they were hiding in by crawling from cover to cover over shattered glass. They made their way to an adjoining hotel where they knocked on doors until someone opened one. It was a couple from Spain who were there celebrating their honeymoon. After several hours, they were evacuated from the airport crossing over more shattered glass, dried blood, and the sound of sirens wailing.

I’m thankful that my brother and Kristine are OK, but my heart breaks for the hundreds of families who were not as lucky today. It terrifies me to have to imagine what it was like at that terminal, and it sends shivers down my spine knowing how lucky Adam and Kristine were.

I’m sick and tired of being afraid.

I don’t want to live in a world where I question my safety at each turn and the intentions of those around me. I don’t want to live in a world of Brexit and Donald Trump, where fear is a motivating factor for how we live our lives.

I want to live in a world where a random Russian guy who doesn’t speak English will scoot over and let you sit next to him to watch the "Game of Thrones" finale. I want to live in a world where a couple from Spain on their honeymoon will open their door for you amidst a terrorist attack and provide you with shelter.

Despite everything that’s occurred today, that is the world that I believe we live in.

All images provided by Bombas

We can all be part of the giving movement

True

We all know that small acts of kindness can turn into something big, but does that apply to something as small as a pair of socks?

Yes, it turns out. More than you might think.

A fresh pair of socks is a simple comfort easily taken for granted for most, but for individuals experiencing homelessness—they are a rare commodity. Currently, more than 500,000 people in the U.S. are experiencing homelessness on any given night. Being unstably housed—whether that’s couch surfing, living on the streets, or somewhere in between—often means rarely taking your shoes off, walking for most if not all of the day, and having little access to laundry facilities. And since shelters are not able to provide pre-worn socks due to hygienic reasons, that very basic need is still not met, even if some help is provided. That’s why socks are the #1 most requested clothing item in shelters.

homelessness, bombasSocks are a simple comfort not everyone has access to

When the founders of Bombas, Dave Heath and Randy Goldberg, discovered this problem, they decided to be part of the solution. Using a One Purchased = One Donated business model, Bombas helps provide not only durable, high-quality socks, but also t-shirts and underwear (the top three most requested clothing items in shelters) to those in need nationwide. These meticulously designed donation products include added features intended to offer comfort, quality, and dignity to those experiencing homelessness.

Over the years, Bombas' mission has grown into an enormous movement, with more than 75 million items donated to date and a focus on providing support and visibility to the organizations and people that empower these donations. These are the incredible individuals who are doing the hard work to support those experiencing —or at risk of—homelessness in their communities every day.

Folks like Shirley Raines, creator of Beauty 2 The Streetz. Every Saturday, Raines and her team help those experiencing homelessness on Skid Row in Los Angeles “feel human” with free makeovers, haircuts, food, gift bags and (thanks to Bombas) fresh socks. 500 pairs, every week.

beauty 2 the streetz, skid row laRaines is out there helping people feel their beautiful best

Or Director of Step Forward David Pinson in Cincinnati, Ohio, who offers Bombas donations to those trying to recover from addiction. Launched in 2009, the Step Forward program encourages participation in community walking/running events in order to build confidence and discipline—two major keys to successful rehabilitation. For each marathon, runners are outfitted with special shirts, shoes—and yes, socks—to help make their goals more achievable.

step forward, helping homelessness, homeless non profitsRunning helps instill a sense of confidence and discipline—two key components of successful recovery

Help even reaches the Front Street Clinic of Juneau, Alaska, where Casey Ploof, APRN, and David Norris, RN give out free healthcare to those experiencing homelessness. Because it rains nearly 200 days a year there, it can be very common for people to get trench foot—a very serious condition that, when left untreated, can require amputation. Casey and Dave can help treat trench foot, but without fresh, clean socks, the condition returns. Luckily, their supply is abundant thanks to Bombas. As Casey shared, “people will walk across town and then walk from the valley just to come here to get more socks.”

step forward clinic, step forward alaska, homelessness alaskaWelcome to wild, beautiful and wet Alaska!

The Bombas Impact Report provides details on Bombas’s mission and is full of similar inspiring stories that show how the biggest acts of kindness can come from even the smallest packages. Since its inception in 2013, the company has built a network of over 3,500 Giving Partners in all 50 states, including shelters, nonprofits and community organizations dedicated to supporting our neighbors who are experiencing- or at risk- of homelessness.

Their success has proven that, yes, a simple pair of socks can be a helping hand, an important conversation starter and a link to humanity.

You can also be a part of the solution. Learn more and find the complete Bombas Impact Report by clicking here.

via UNSW

This article originally appeared on 07.10.21


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