It’s good when brands can spread some good news

—After months (and months) of tough news, Craig Redmond appreciates when a brand can deliver a feel-good act of kindness—

Watching the evening news out here in Vancouver these past few months has been like enduring an unending, unanesthetized root canal performed by a blindfolded butcher who drained a bottle of Jack Daniels to steel his nerves just before starting the procedure.

Covid. Communities vaporized by wildfires. Economic freefall. Nearly 600 deaths caused by a heatwave. Drought and farm failures. And then perhaps the ugliest exhibition of human depravity we can remember, watching thousands of antivaxxers protesting outside hospitals and assaulting healthcare workers who put their own lives on the line for two years to protect us from the pandemic.

It was debilitating to watch night after night.

But then along came the Weather Network Wizards, who have, I’m convinced, hired a bunch of ex-advertising copywriters exiled during the great Covid cull, to spice up their meteorological patois. Because we were suddenly being introduced to things like “Heat Domes” and “Bomb Cyclones.”

Ironically, it was the least threatening new term that resulted in one of the greatest weather disasters to ever hit Canada. It sounded so melodic when the news anchor first uttered the words “Atmospheric Rivers” on Nov. 12. But less than 48 hours later, most of the towns and farmland outside of Vancouver were submerged, 20,000 people were displaced, thousands of farm animals drowned, drivers killed in mudslides, and our only supply routes were cut off by flood or highway collapse, promising food and fuel shortages.

So, after observing our nightly ritual of watching the evening news together for the entirety of our marriage, I asked my wife the unthinkable: “Do you mind if I change the channel?”

But then just as I reached for the remote, a little miracle happened.

There appeared a leader of the B.C. Sikh community who revealed how his constituents were working in their temple kitchen around the clock, preparing 3,000 meals a day and chartering a helicopter at their own expense to deliver the food to families taking refuge in community shelters.

Soon thereafter, other pilots also volunteered to help, and 24 small private planes packed with food and supplies were flying in and out of the ravaged region. By the end of that final segment of the news broadcast, I was fighting back tears of joy.

These last two years have brought out the best and the worst of people in our country. And has pitted us against one another.

But in comparison, the divisiveness tearing our U.S. cousins asunder is profoundly worse. Every issue that split Americans in the past was deafeningly amplified by the exiting Commander in Cheeto with his pro-life, anti-vax, gun lobbying, “big lie” preaching, old white republican lynch mob, marching like lemmings in his tangerine tow.

Even something as seemingly innocent and All American as a high school football rivalry could descend into the depths of uncivil discord. Which is why the cable company Cox decided to intervene on behalf of Putnam City, Oklahoma and help unite their cross-town, sworn enemies with a lovely stunt and the simple question: why can’t we be friends?

We may never return to a greater sense of decency after what this world has just suffered. But herculean feats of kindness, such as those carried out by some of the province’s Sikh community, and small heartwarming gestures like this halftime deed played out in unheard of places like Putnam, do promise hope for humanity.

And remind us that sometimes, there’s no news like good news.

As for the continuing bad news here in British Columbia, you can make it better with a small donation here, which will be matched by the Provincial and Federal Governments.