“A Few days later this young son packed all his belongings and moved to a
distant land, and there he wasted all his money in wild living.”
Luke  15:13  NLT

“No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.” Aesop

The January 30 edition of the Wall Street Journal featured a story displaying the headline, “Lifestyles Of The Rich And Stranded.”

Earlier in that month, unprecedented arctic weather caused thousands of flight cancellations, resulting in the stranding of millions of travelers. Millions of people with plans which needed to be altered or cancelled altogether; visits to loved ones that were delayed; business trips requiring rescheduling, and so on. Life is sometimes inconvenient and most of us understand and accept it.

Not so for the rich. The paper’s story highlighted the ‘plight’ of one Debbie Grazioso and her husband. They were trying to take a JetBlue flight from Florida to New York on January 6 when their flight was cancelled due to inclement weather conditions. They were informed they would have to wait four days for a flight to their destination.

According to the story, twin daughters awaited Ms. Grazioso’s arrival, who was flying there to celebrate their 25th birthday and attend a scheduled party. Missing the flight would mean missing the party, and that was unacceptable to the mother who was able to ‘hitch a ride’ with another family on a seven seat private jet for $9,000. Mom was quoted as saying, “It was well worth it. You can never get a birthday back.”

True, Ms. Grazioso, you can never get them back. Not even the ones where an opportunity to impart a beautiful lesson and example to one’s children is missed. What a beautiful birthday could have been had if the mother had taken a lesson from Madison Roy of Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

You remember her: The young lady who quietly went about planning a special birthday while Justin Bieber went about demonstrating his immaturity and disregard for others; the young lady who displayed a generous and humble spirit when she “gave up” her birthday gifts to collect much needed items for the Bishop Ott Center For Women And Children in Baton Rouge; the same young lady who showed the spoiled little rich pr…er….person (I have to stop doing that) who the REAL superstar is; the same young lady who seem genuinely surprised and confused that people would be so touched by her selflessness they would still give her a birthday gift, in addition to the items they brought to donate to the Center.

If only Ms. Grazioso had heard about Madison’s birthday. What a beautiful gift she could have bestowed upon her daughters, herself, Madison, and women and children in need, if she had called her daughters and said, “I can get a flight on a private jet for $9000 and make it to your party……But I’m not going to do that. Instead, I am sending the money to Madison Roy in Baton Rouge, Louisiana to buy much needed items for the Bishop Ott Center For Women And Children, and I am giving it in your names. We’ll “Skype” for free during the party and I’ll give you a hug in person as soon as JetBlue gets us a flight.”

Now THAT would have been a birthday WORTH remembering!

While the super-rich and the super spoiled get all of the media coverage for doing nothing more than exhibiting selfishness and bad judgment, Madison Roy shows us all that she is truly a Silent Superstar!

Thanks again, Madison, for teaching us all how to be better children of God.


“And don’t forget to do good and to share with those in need.
These are the sacrifices that please God.”
  Hebrews 13:16 NLT

“I expect to pass through this world but once; Any good thing therefore
that I can do, or kindness that I can show to any fellow creature, let me
do it now; let me not defer or neglect it, for I shall not pass this way again.”
Proverbial Saying

Last week, as the world was besieged with hours of television news broadcasting devoted to the ‘mesmerizing’ arrest of a spoiled, arrogant, pompous, narcissistic, overblown, self-centered, self-indulgent, pretentious, puffed-up little person named Justin Bieber, who was arrested in Miami for drag racing his Lamborghini and doing it while intoxicated, a young girl in Baton Rouge quietly went about the business of planning her 12th birthday party. My friend Richard’s daughter, Madison, was preparing to have her party at a place called “The Quarters”, which is sort of like a grown-up Chuck-E-Cheese. They have more games and activities for the entire family to enjoy together, including ‘laser tag’.

Let me tell you what makes this particular birthday party deserving of far more air-time than the out-of-control super-rich preschooler. Richard told me that the invitations Madison sent out to her 10 or so invitees contained the following message: “In lieu of gifts for me, please bring something to donate to the ‘Bishop Ott Women And Children’s Shelter’.”

Richard’s wife told Richard she thought she was being “overly optimistic” when she brought 3 large laundry baskets to put the donated items in, but as it turns out they were not close to being enough. There were piles of blankets and one piece outfits for toddlers and babies, baby bottles and diapers and other items.

Are you crying yet? I was, as was Richard as he related the story to me. But wait…there is more: The restaurant staff, upon learning what was happening, quickly banded together to create a special, personalized card for Madison, and when the manager brought it out, he asked who the mother was. After Richard’s wife identified herself, the manager asked, “What planet is your daughter from?” He then presented the card to Madison, and Madison found that her generous, unselfish heart had earned her a month’s worth of unlimited laser tag from the restaurant.

In addition (What, you thought I was done?), some of the invitees not only brought items to donate, they also brought a gift for Madison as well. When Madison related the story to Richard, she complained, saying, “Daddy, they didn’t LISTEN!”

No Madison… they listened. I only wish the rest of the world could hear about your selflessness as well. You are an inspiration to us all. God bless you, young lady, and HAPPY BIRTHDAY!