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Opinion: Do you know ‘The Donut Man?’

Opinion: Do you know ‘The Donut Man?’

In troubling times we look for a port in the storm. A reprieve, no matter how small, to provide some calm in an otherwise chaotic world.

I am happy to report that I found mine.

Every Saturday or Sunday morning my middle child and I get up at the crack of dawn and head to a local donut shop. We buy a few boxes of assorted donuts and go over our list.

Our list is a collection of people and addresses to receive a surprise delivery of donuts to their front door.

We started this weekend tradition in the middle of last year, after stay-at-home orders had been lifted, but while many people were still confined to their homes. We wanted to do something to reassure those people that the world was still turning and someone out there was thinking of them.

I didn’t understand at the time how much I needed that reassurance, too.

My partner in the quest to “spread donut love,” as we’ve described our task, is my 3-year-old, Leo, who is now affectionally known as “The Donut Man.” He has a heart of gold, an unmistakable laugh and the innate gift of lowering the temperature of any room he walks into. His “blow up kisses” are always in high demand.

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On our way to one of a handful of local donut shops we frequent, we sing “do you know the donut man?” to the tune of “do you know the muffin man?” He wears slippers with donut socks and a donut robe my aunt made him for Christmas. And yes, he has a donut mask to complete the uniform.

Most people behind the counter now recognize our little donut man and are thrilled to see him. Other customers in the store that morning light up at the sight of this bubbly little boy decked out in donut attire buying dozens of donuts.

We have delivered to friends, neighbors, strangers, classmates and coworkers. We have delivered to soon- to-be parents grappling with the uncertainty of bringing children into a COVID world, and adult children grappling with the idea of ushering parents or grandparents out of this world as “normally” as they can.

We don’t often see or talk to the recipients of our donut deliveries. An interaction is not the point. The point is that someone woke up one Saturday or Sunday morning and found a delicious hot box of donuts sitting on their front step. Who it’s from is irrelevant.

What matters is that maybe that person is in need of reassurance that everything is going to be OK. That out there in the world are people who love them, need them and have their back.

We must be diligent and purposeful about reaching out to people. We must be unassuming about who may need help, or a smile – or a donut.

One such person doing his part is a 3-year-old who goes by “The Donut Man.” He may soon be headed your way.

Know someone who could use a surprise box of donuts delivered to their front door? Send me an email with the subject line “The Donut Man” and include an address. No explanation is needed, but if you’d like to include one, I am happy to share it with Leo as we make our way to their house.