Thumbs Up/Thumbs Down, Dec. 16

Views by the Echo Press Editorial Board. Topics: Not stopping for school bus, uneven pricing, a kind act in 1978, business messages, Project Bookshelf, St. Mary's Thanksgiving Dinner

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Bad driving/Alert motorist

Thumbs Down/Up: A local school bus driver witnessed some bad driving on Dec. 1 when a driver failed to stop for the bus’ stop-signal arm was extended and flashing. A thumbs down goes to that inattentive driver. Another driver who was paying attention, however, saw the whole thing, alertly took a photo of the lawbreaker’s license plate and gave the info to the police. Later, the bus driver contacted police and found out that a citation had already been issued. “A thumbs up to the guy who was bright enough to use his phone and take the picture,” the bus driver said. “I wish more people would do that.”

Uneven prices in stores

Thumbs Down: Here’s a pet peeve from a shopper: When a store displays the price of a certain item that does’t match the price the store charges at the checkout. Stores should take the time to update the price, either at the display or in their computer systems. Another annoyance is when businesses fail to put a price on an item or in the display area, leaving shoppers in the dark. Yes, they could bring it to the checkout or use a price checker but that’s a hassle shoppers shouldn’t have to go through.

Kindness can linger for decades

Thumbs Up: An act of kindness can have a lasting impact – even after 44 years. We received a letter from a resident in Philadelphia, Robert Peters, about an inspirational experience he had with an Alexandria auto repair shop back on Christmas Eve in 1978. He and his seminary roommate were driving an old VW bus from Indiana back to Winnipeg, Manitoba when the motor froze up. They found an Alexandria repair shop (he couldn’t recall the name) and the mechanics stopped what they were working on to repair their car. “They quickly inserted a new rebuilt VW engine and even repaired the heating ducts,” Peters said. The real Christmas miracle, however, came later, he said. The two seminary students didn’t have the funds, around $800, to pay the bill but “the kind owner trusted us to return after the holidays to pay him, which of course we did,” Peters said. “What a remarkable act of kindness. I hope one of you are, or knew, the owner, and will express my gratitude to him once more, and tell him that I often tell this story around the Christmas season to remind folks that the real spirit of the holiday season is demonstrated by kind deeds like this one.” Roberts invited the “kind soul” who repaired the car to contact him at .

Businesses not keeping up with calls

Thumbs Down: If you run a business, please make sure you check your phone messages and emails from time to time. We’ve heard complaints about businesses that let their answering machines or emails get so full there’s no room to leave a message. On a related note, we’ve heard from frustrated consumers who leave a message or send an email to a business but don’t get a reply back – ever. If a business is too busy to return a few calls, they won’t be busy very long.

The gift of a book

Thumbs Up: The Alexandria Area Branch of the American Association of University Women sends a thumbs up to all those who participated in the association’s Project Bookshelf this year. “The generosity of individuals and organizations meant we were able to donate over 370 new books to Jingle Bells,” said AAUW member Georgia Wahlberg. “Many children and young adults in the Alexandria area will enjoy the gift of a book this holiday season because of you.”


Community comes together

Thumbs Up: Organizers of the Community Thanksgiving Dinner at St. Mary’s Church and School express gratitude to all the churches, businesses, organizations and individuals who helped make the event such a success. “Special thank you to Luther Crest and the staff at St. Mary’s Church and School,” said Grace Lambert, volunteer coordinator. “Over 250 volunteers donated 500 plus hours of their time throughout the week and Thanksgiving Day. We served 813 meals between meals delivered and those served at St. Mary’s School. At a time when our nation is so divided it was refreshing to see members of our community come together to share a meal on Thanksgiving Day!”

If you have a suggestion for a Thumbs Up/Thumbs Down, email it to or mail it to Echo Press, P.O. Box 549, Alexandria, MN 56308.

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