Last month, my sister JJ Pierce’s locked Honda CRV was stolen in the few minutes she was inside a local Home Depot. While stolen vehicles may – sadly – be a common occurrence, what made this a tragedy for my sister was that her beloved dog, Louie, was inside the car when it was taken. Nearly three weeks later, the car has been found – Louie has not.
As I’ve watched this event unfold, I’ve seen both the best and worst of humanity emerge. The people who did this, and who remain silent even as the city comes together to search for Louie, are appalling. They not only robbed my sister of her car and her dog, but also of 19 days of peace – days JJ could have spent exploring her new city, concentrating on earning her master’s degree and on teaching her beloved students.
Louie was taken the night before JJ was supposed to leave for a rare family reunion in Michigan. She stayed in Philadelphia to deal with her situation, and had to miss being surrounded by the people who love her most. She was robbed of that support, and our family was robbed of being complete that weekend. Since then, purveyors of negativity have continued the awful effects of what happened those weeks ago. JJ has received a large number of prank phone calls, endless judgments about her decision to bring Louie with her to the store and many other disturbing exchanges. She has not been able to attend to her life for 19 days. The impacts of this act of evil are far-reaching and have devastated my sister, my family, her friends, her students, and many others throughout Philadelphia.
While the negative effects of this misfortune are seemingly pervasive, another, more hopeful side of humanity has emerged, in far greater numbers than their depraved counterparts. To this day, thousands of people in Philadelphia and across the country have joined JJ’s effort to locate Louie. The Facebook page dedicated to the cause reached 10,000 likes today, and each weekend, scores of people have joined my sister to scour the streets of Philadelphia, looking for her best friend. She’s raised $3,000 in reward money and even more to promote the cause. Billboards, signs, and flyers have reached nearly every corner of the city. The messages of love, support, and compassion are what have carried JJ through this time. Overwhelming messages and acts of love have showed JJ, and me, what we’re capable of when we’re at our best.
The message here is that our actions, however meaningless they may seem, have impacts greater than we know. JJ’s situation has showed me that we can create incredible good or deplorable evil with our every breath. Let’s commit to creating good.
Come home Louie.
Kimberly Pierce is the Project Manager for the William T. Welch Company in Fort Collins, Colorado. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Her sister, JJ, is a current student, obtaining a graduate degree in education. JJ can be reached at email@example.com.