Thank You, from a Stranger

In social media, it is common place to gripe, complain, or get offended over anything. The amount of negativity found online has become a cyber tsunami looking to wipe out any ounce of kindness and happiness that we possess.

Kindness found in our own private microcosms has been passed over with the mentality of “Well, you’re my Mom. You’re SUPPOSED to say nice things.” Our personal friends are SUPPOSED to be supportive and nice to us. That’s why they are your friends! But all too often, we don’t show the appreciation for that small, but meaningful, gesture.

This blog, although seeming to do that EXACT thing, is not about close friends and family. It is about the kindness of a stranger and thanking them!

If someone you didn’t know messaged you on Facebook asking to watch a video and give a critique on it, would you do it? I know most of us would respond with “Do I know you?”

With that being said, (and not taking away from those in my private life who DO support me and my endeavors) I would like to take a moment to thank three people who not only responded, but were already leading (by normal standards) double and triple lives who STILL took time out of their schedules to help me, despite not knowing who I was at the time.

Those people, in alphabetical order:

Jami Kinton 

I first met Jami in 2011 while she was interviewing my kids about playing ghosts in the Bissman Building episode of “My Ghost Story”. Since then, Jami and I have collaborated in several ventures, including guest hosting on “Mid Ohio Rock Show” several times and handling interviewing duties during other filming projects of mine.

Anyone who follows her on Facebook knows that this lady is ALWAYS on the run, traveling anywhere and everywhere to her next audition or gig she has landed. Never mind the fact that she also hosts for the Cleveland Indians all summer!

I don’t know where she finds time (or energy) to change outfits, let alone sleep!

That’s why I appreciate her. No matter how busy she gets, she is one I can message and usually get a response within a short amount of time (hey, she’s a busy girl!). She is always willing to help, with her trademark smile and enthusiasm, with a piece of advice or information to make things easier on me through my wide range of ventures.

Monica Robins

Although Monica and I have never officially met, she has become one of my favorite Facebook friends who is willing to chat and/or lend a hand for assistance.

When I produced my first music video in 2009 for a local AC/DC tribute band, I wanted to get some perspective as to how well I did. Again, my personal friends gave the answers they were SUPPOSED to give; “Wow!” and “That’s cool!” While I appreciated their enthusiasm, I wanted a more experienced eye to take a look and give their professional advice. One who wouldn’t be afraid to tell the whole truth. With no mentor for me to bend an ear, I turned to some of my Facebook friends who are in the industry to gain their perspective.

I received a bunch of “Not bad”, “Love the band”, and a TON of no responses, which is what one would expect for a fleet Facebook messages sent from some guy in Mansfield to radio, television, and music professionals in Akron, Cleveland, and Columbus. However, there was one of the responses I received that I will never forget.

It was from Monica Robins, Senior Health Correspondent at WKYC in Cleveland and lead singer of Monica Robins and the Whiskey Kings. Who better to judge a music video than someone who sings and spends time in front of a camera almost nightly? It was a long shot that she would read it, let alone watch and write back, but I’m known to swing for the fences from time to time!

Amazingly, she responded quickly and with a lengthy response. Not belittling, not degrading, not even a critique. She wrote which shots could have been improved on, where to tighten up a some other shots, and how to improve the audio. She didn’t write to tear the video apart (as one may expect from the social media peanut gallery). She wrote in an effort to make my video BETTER! Who does that? I took the suggestions and made one particular tribute band quite happy with the results.

Since then, Monica and I have stayed in touch over the years, mainly me asking questions to clarify topical questions during my little podcast I do. She has been the proverbial “phone a friend” lifeline for me in that regard more than once! I was thrilled to hear this past week that Monica is bringing the Whiskey Kings to Mansfield’s Brickyard stage this summer, something I have been hoping would happen for several years now!

Kathy Vogel

Of the three I have listed here, I have known of Kathy the longest. I listened to Kathy on morning radio since the early 90’s on WONE in Akron. (Sorry Kathy!) So when her name came up on my Facebook wall in the late 2000’s, I didn’t hesitate sending a friend request. I haven’t regretted it, either!

She has chimed in on a couple projects of mine, offered her voiceover services, I chipped in (via Kickstarter) on a short film her and her now Husband, Joe Vitale, Jr. (Another musician that I would LOVE to see perform at the Brickyard stage!), were working on at the time (an Award-Winning short film, at that!), and they drove clear from Akron to Mansfield just to participate in a few episodes of “Mid Ohio Rock Show”! That is where the second photo came from. I asked her not to get me in trouble with my Wife, then she struck that pose. (Thanks, Kathy!)


So, as you can see, there ARE good people out there who are willing to help proverbial strangers when called upon. It doesn’t have to be a life or death situation before you are “allowed” or “supposed” to help. Not one of these three ladies has EVER asked for anything in return for their friendship, advice, guidance, and/or talent in my years of knowing each of them.

I don’t know how far I would have gotten without ANYBODY’S help, but this trio’s selflessness towards me will not only never be forgotten, but will cast a beacon of light as to guide me in how to treat others looking for similar assistance!

Thank you, for showing me (and now the readers of this blog) that there are bright spots in this ever-darkening world of social media!

Time to pay it forward!


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