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Opinion: Readers aren’t all doom and gloom on the coronavirus. Here’s proof

Drive-by happy birthday
A man plays “Happy Birthday” on his trumpet during a drive-by parade to celebrate the 105th birthday of a World War II veterans in Lakewood on April 26.
(Los Angeles Times)

It would be an understatement to say that the overall tone of letters written about the pandemic these last several weeks has been negative. People are upset — at President Trump, at the media for criticizing President Trump, over the sudden loss of access to public spaces, over the rampant sickness and lives lost.

You can’t blame them.

But sprinkled amid the deluge of overwhelmingly sad and anxious letters are notes expressing hope and gratitude. These are not responses to any particular articles (so they tend not to get published) but rather positive letters sharing uplifting experiences or sentiments, unprompted by any pieces in the L.A. Times. Here is a selection of such letters that we’ve received these last few weeks.

Ann Pearce of Rancho Palos Verdes shares the story of a neighborhood observance:

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We recently had the the most poignant thing happen on our little cul de sac.

Nearly a year ago, one couple’s 21-year-old son committed suicide. His birthday was earlier this week, and his grown sister arranged a happy birthday drive-by. She’d let all the neighbors know by email to expect some honking, so we all went out when we heard the first peep.

There was a man with a guitar singing at the end of the street and perhaps 20 decorated cars full of friends and dogs circled on this awkward little street, singing out and waving greetings. The neighbors were out clapping. You couldn’t stop crying with mixed feeling of happiness and sadness.

This experience, how we demonstrated caring for each other in a time of isolation, is one of the things I’ll always remember about this neighborhood.

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Sandra Oliver of San Gabriel was one of several readers to express gratitude for local journalism:

Thank you so much for continuing to publish the Los Angeles Times every day during this crisis.

I have subscribed to The Times for years, and just knowing I will have it every morning gives me a small sense of normality in the middle of this unprecedented upheaval. I salute everyone who works tirelessly on each section of the paper.

You are all heroes during this extremely stressful situation. I cannot thank you enough.

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La Jolla resident Ethel Sweed shares a tale of interfaith kindness:

My husband and I are a senior Jewish couple. Because he is a lung cancer survivor, we try to avoid shopping during the pandemic.

One day, the wife of the imam of the Islamic Center of San Diego called to offer volunteers to grocery shop for us. As founding members of the San Diego chapter of Jewish Voice for Peace, my husband and I had worked with the Islamic Center to help combat Islamophobia.

Recently, Imam Taha Hassane made a large delivery to our front door, having shopped at Costco himself. His act of kindness will nourish our bodies as well as our souls.


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