It was a day of unimaginable tragedy when the Sandy Hook shooting happened. Mary Latham called her mom who at the time was a patient at New York’s Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. On that same day, one of her co-workers got a free cup of coffee at Starbucks after a man decided to pay it forward giving the barista 100 dollars “He came into work with his coffee and told me you should have come with me. You know I kind of ignored him and was focused on the news and said I couldn’t afford it and he said well it was free,” said Mary Latham
Mary was focused on the negatives, but during the call with her mother, who only had weeks to live told her to focus on the free coffee “she said Mary you got to focus on that coffee story. You know what a cool thing that-that guy did that. You know there will be tragedies and things, but there’s always going to be more good out there.”
Shortly after Mary’s mother passed away. Mary and the rest of her family were sitting in a hospital waiting room devastated. It was the worst week of her life and seeing other families in the same position didn’t make it any easier. But Mary decided to make a book about hope and kindness that could offer people some comfort across the country. A book for hospital waiting rooms. She started a Facebook page called the Grattitude Project, but the stories slowly stopped coming in. She decided to go out and look for the stories herself and hit the road in search of more good.
23,000 miles, 96 homes, and 18 months later, Mary is in Washington state. She pulled up in her mom’s ten-year-old Subaru named “Old Blue.” It’s the 27th state she has visited to collect stories of hope and kindness “You stay with one person, and then they know someone else. Or you throw something up on social media and say you’re going here and ten people reach out and say I know someone here, here or here it’s constantly people reaching out to welcome you in their homes,’ said Mary.
The stories Mary has collected during her trip range from very small acts of kindness to organ donations “It makes me really realize what these little things we are all capable of doing that we can be doing them more and what a massive impact they have on people around us. It’s just any kind of stories of the good.”
Mary will continue her trek across America until she has reached all 50 states “There’s no story that’s too small, and you never know who you can inspire.”
To learn more about Mary’s project click here