Archive | February 4, 2014

Humanity’s Alive and Giving: A $1,075 Tip for a $29.30 Bill*

Humanity’s Alive and Giving: A $1,075 Tip for a $29.30 Bill*

By Kathryn Schroeder

Waitress Khadijah Muhammad was shocked when she discovered the tip someone left her on a $29.30 bill.

“I just remember seeing a comma after the one and knew it wasn’t $10. And I was like, ‘Oh, my God!’” Muhammad said. “And I just lost my balance and I was like, ‘Does this say a thousand dollars?’ I could not believe it.”

The tip was for $1,075.

Muhammad works at Cheddar’s in Knoxville, TN and the 3,669% tip could not have come at a better time for the struggling waitress.

Recently, Muhammad had to take multiple days off after her mother suffered a heart attack in Ohio. Her mother is doing fine, but Muhammad returned home from Ohio to a pile of unpaid bills, the Huffington Post reports.

The Knoxville Utilities Board left a sign on her doorknob, warning her that the electricity would be turned off if she did not pay her bill by January 23, reports the NY Daily News.

“I was thinking I’m really going to need a miracle to pay my bills this month,” Muhammad said.

The miracle she needed came in the form of one very generous family.

But she originally thought they had stiffed her.

“Normally as a server, when a receipt is turned upside down it means you did not get a good tip or any tip. Or people will leave a nasty note about how you messed something up with their service,” Muhammad said. “I remember thinking, ‘I wonder what I did wrong.’ Then I picked it up and I just was in shock.”

The family wrote on the back on the receipt, “Jesus has blessed us and we were led to give it to you. God bless!”

The family has requested to remain anonymous but they did speak with WBIR.

“When we walked into Cheddar’s we had no idea that we were going to do that,” the family told WBIR. “God put it on my heart after your amazing service.”

Muhammad is now determined to pay it forward.

“I hope and pray that someday I’m able to do this for somebody. And at the first opportunity I will do it,” Muhammad said.


Homeless Man Given $1000, Immediately Offers to Share the Money*

By Lily Dane

This is Eric.

I met him last year when I worked in Newport News, Virginia. Almost every day, he rode his bike to the shopping center where my office was located.

Eric spent several hours per day sitting on the curb in the parking lot behind the coffee shop. He usually held signs that asked for money or food, depending on what his particular needs were that day.

I said hello to Eric every day, and often stopped to give him a few dollars. Sometimes I gave him food, bottles of water, or coffee.

One day I had a little extra time, and decided to go out and strike up a conversation with him. I asked him what his story was…where he slept at night, if he had any family in the area, and what kind of help he needed.

Eric said he’d been trying to find a job for a long time, and described the vicious cycle that tends to trap people who are homeless. He said that even fast food restaurants repeatedly turned him down for employment. Eric told me that one manager said, “Why would we hire a homeless man?” He explained that he was willing to work hard and just needed someone to give him a chance. She kicked him out of the restaurant.

I asked him if he stayed in shelters at night. He said that women and children are priorities (and said he agreed with that policy), so he usually slept outside. Eric often saved up money people gave him to stay in hotels when the weather was particularly harsh.

Sometimes he got lucky, and an especially generous stranger would offer to pay to put him in a hotel room for a night or two.

Eric always struck me as a kindhearted and caring man. He always expressed gratitude for even the smallest donation. He said hello to everyone who passed by. They often say the eyes are the window to the soul. Eric’s seemed to be filled with kindness and hope, in spite of his dire situation.

About a week ago, I started hearing people talk about a video of a homeless man who was given a winning lottery ticket for $1,000.

Today, after seeing it appear in my Facebook feed several times, I finally watched the video.

Imagine my surprise when I recognized the homeless man in the video.

“That’s Eric! THE Eric!”

YouTube prankster and magician Magic of Rahat had heard that Eric was “nice and respectable”, so he wanted to help him out.

Rahat approached Eric and told him he didn’t have any money to give him, but wanted to give him a lottery ticket instead.

But the lottery ticket wasn’t really a winner – and Rahat knew that. He asked a convenience store clerk to go along with his plan – which was to let Eric think he won $1,000.

Rahat and Eric went to the convenience store together to check the numbers.

Watch the video to see what happened next:

As soon as the clerk handed Eric the cash, he turned to Rahat and said “I would like to share it.”

“I’ve been doing this for a long time and I never, never had a friend, had somebody do what you just did back there,” Eric told Rahat.

Critics have asked Rahat why he didn’t just simply hand Eric the $1,000. To that, Rahat said:

“I wanted to create a moment of magic with him winning the lottery. I could’ve just went up to him and gave him $1000, but I wanted to do it in a unique way.”

Rahat has started a fundraising campaign to help Eric get back on his feet.

If you would like to donate, you can do so here: Eric’s Fundraising

Stories like these help restore a little of my faith in humanity. Is is easy to sit back and judge those who are less fortunate, and perhaps make assumptions about the choices that may have led them to their situation. But in reality, with the current state of the economy, any of us could end up homeless like Eric.

In the end, all we really have is each other.

Related Topics:

Pay It Forward with Kindness

Lebanese  Boy uses Birthday Money to buy Syrian Children Shoes*

Only 8, but He Raised $20,000 So Fellow Students Could Eat Lunch*

Student Ignores the Illegality of Feeding the Hungry and Saves 200,000 Meals*

South African Miner’s Strike continues Despite Threats of More Layoffs

South African Miners Strike continues Despite Threats of More Layoffs

By Abayomi Azikiwe

A government mediation team is seeking to resolve the ongoing strike in the platinum industry in the Northwest Province of South Africa. Talks were suspended until Feb. 4 as the world’s leading platinum mine producers remain stifled by strike activity which began Jan. 23.

This strike involves production at the world’s three largest platinum producers — Anglo American Platinum, Impala Platinum Holdings Ltd. and Lonmin PLC. The labor action is reportedly costing the owners $18 million a day.

Mine owners have threatened to lay off workers if the strike does not come to an end based on the bosses’ terms. Since 2012, there has been a series of strikes and incidents of violence in the platinum mines around Rustenburg, the center of the industry.

The Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration has put forward a plan to end the strike, but details have not been made public. “The mediated proposal or a variation thereof could form the basis of a final settlement in this dispute,” Nerine Kahn, the director of CCMA, said in an official statement quoted in Feb. 2 Reuters.

This work stoppage was called by the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union, which is a breakaway group from the National Mineworkers Union (NUM), an affiliate of the Congress of South African Trade Unions. AMCU has taken away tens of thousands of workers from the NUM, particularly in the so-called platinum belt in the Northwest Province.

The overall politics of AMCU are not clear. Some have suggested their opposition to NUM, COSATU and the ruling African National Congress stems from their anti-communist beliefs.

More layoffs threatened

As a result of the continuing turmoil in the Northwest mining region, company executives are escalating their previous threats to downsize the workforce. The strike has spread with the intervention of the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa, the largest union within COSATU, which downed its tools on Feb. 3.

NUMSA has generated controversy in recent months with its criticism of the current leadership of COSATU, going so far as to say that they will not support the ANC in the upcoming elections in April or May. NUMSA is striking against the Anglo American Platinum (Amplats), whose headquarters is now listed in Britain.

According to Feb. 3 Bloomberg,

“Anglo American Platinum Ltd. (AMS) will cut as many as 1,400 jobs as a strike that has shrunk output at the biggest producer of the metal by half headed for a third week. The cuts planned for this year follow a loss of 7,438 jobs in 2013 as the Anglo American Plc (AAL) unit known as Amplats merged five mines at its Rustenburg complex into three.”

Anglo American CEO Chris Griffith said that between 1,200 and 1,400 workers will be downsized during 2014. “By the end of this year we expect that job will be complete. If there are vacancies across the group, we will be able to redeploy those people.”

AMCU is demanding the doubling of monthly wages for their workers to 12,500 rand (approximately $1,108 U.S.). The company says that it cannot afford that and offered the workers a raise of 9 percent, which was rejected by AMCU.

Despite the bosses’ claims of potential financial ruin in light of persistent labor actions, Bloomberg reported Griffith as saying, “Amplats today [Feb. 3] posted a return to full-year profit helped by rising sales and a slide in the value of the South African rand. It’s on course to achieve a targeted 3.8 billion rand of savings within three years through the Rustenburg restructuring after achieving 1.9 billion rand of savings last year.”

Impact on upcoming national elections

With presidential and parliamentary elections taking place in three months, the ANC and opposition parties are seeking to build campaigns at winning over voters. The ANC Manifesto for 2014 is calling for the creation of 6 million jobs and faster land reform geared toward redistribution to the indigenous African population. The South African masses remain disproportionately impoverished and landless after two decades of national independence from apartheid.

Launching the ANC Manifesto has drawn tens of thousands of people to rallies across the country. A special appeal is being made to the youth, the so-called “born frees,” who came on the scene after the overwhelming 1994 electoral victory by the ruling party in the first non-racial democratic election in the country’s history.

Opposition parties are scrambling to develop an electoral strategy to challenge the ANC. The largest opposition party, the Democratic Alliance, is a white-dominated organization with a minority presence in parliament, which maintains control of local and provincial governmental structures in the Western Cape Province.

The DA attempted to recruit Dr. Mamphele Ramphele, a former comrade of the late Black Consciousness Movement presidential candidate and leader, Steve Biko, who was assassinated while imprisoned by the white-minority regime in September 1977. Ramphele, who never joined the ANC even during the height of the anti-apartheid struggle during the 1980s and early 1990s, formed her own political party, Agang, in 2013, saying she would run against President Jacob Zuma.

Ramphele reported at a Feb. 3 press conference, however, that the purported merger between Agang and the DA was off and that she would not be running for president on the slate. These developments have strengthened the position of the ANC, which had labeled Ramphele as a “rent-a-black-face” candidate for the DA.

The outcome of the national elections will depend upon voting patterns of the youth, workers and people in the rural areas. With turmoil in the mining sector, it remains to be seen how rank-and-file members of the trade unions will vote.

Even though NUMSA has made statements critical of the ANC and its economic policy and the role of the trade union movement in the Tripartite Alliance of the ANC, COSATU and the South African Communist Party, this may not translate into broad defection from the ruling party by rank-and-file union members and people in the cities, countryside and outlying townships.

Whatever the outcome of the elections, the people of South Africa will still face the burgeoning crisis of the world capitalist system. They can only hope to reverse deteriorating social conditions with a sharp move to the left that addresses the wide disparities between African workers and the owners of capital.


Related Topics:

A Reminder Why South African Mineworkers have a Right to Strike*

Not Just About the Slave Wage of Mineworkers!

Why are World Business leaders Meeting in South Africa!

South Africa: What is Really Protected by the State Protection Bill!

Corporations that Profit from Poor South Africans*

Landgrab for Filipino Victims of Typhoon Haiyan*

Landgrab for Filipino Victims of Typhoon Haiyan*

There man-made suffering continues as over 10,000 typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda) victims in the Philippines joined a protest dubbed the ‘People Surge’ to condemn the slow arrival of relief and rehabilitation efforts in their communities. The ‘People Surge’ is also an alliance of typhoon Haiyan victims mainly from the provinces of Leyte and Samar.

Haiyan, the world’s strongest storm of 2013, battered the Visayas islands of the Philippines lastNovember 8 which killed more than 6,000 people. Thousands more were left homeless after a tsunami-like storm surge devastated several towns in the region.

Participants of the ‘People Surge’ are complaining about the lack of government assistance in restoring the homes and livelihoods of typhoon victims. They are also opposing the ‘No Build Zone’ policy which they claim will lead to the displacement of thousands of residents in coastal areas.

The ‘People Surge’ first assembled in a public university before marching around the city of Tacloban, the ground zero of the Haiyan disaster.


Related Topics:

The Story Behind Killer Typhoon Haiyan Begins to Unfold*

The Cabal Exploits Filipino Trauma with unneeded Polio Vaccines*