August 29, 2017

Take a break from the steady diet of hopelessness and read this.

On CNN's New Day, Alysin Camerota interviews Jim "Mattress Mack" McIngvale, owner of Houston's Gallery Furniture, who took in Katrina victims five years ago and is now welcoming Harvey flood victims.

She asked how many people he had in his stores today.

"We have two stores, one of them has about 360 people, the other one has 400," he said. "So we've got lots of people displaced from the horrible flooding and we're thrilled to have them."

(I'm sorry, I'm trying really hard not to compare this with Joel Osteen's response.)

"Some of them will stay two or three days, some will stay as long as a week until they get back on their feet but you know, these are great people," he said. "They're not hard on the inventory, they're fine. We've got nothing but good things to say about all these people that have gone through these incredible tragedies.

"The other morning a young boy came up to me, he was about 7 years old, and he's carrying, stumbled in here and he was crying and he said his parents, who obviously couldn't speak English. he said, 'can we stay here?' Just breaks your heart.

"We're thrilled to have these people here and life dealt them a bad hand, trying to help relieve some of the stress and anxiety on them right now and hope to get back to a life of normalcy in the future."

He said each store has a large restaurant, and they're feeding the guests.

"We feed all the folks breakfast, lunch and dinner and try to take care of them like they'd be taken care of at a hotel. If we can make life easier as they try to get something back, we've done something right in our life."

Camerota noted this isn't the first time McIngvale has done philanthropic things around town.

"You give away mattresses if the Houston Astros win the World Series, you also have given money to local schools and teachers lounges. Why do you feel so connected to your community and such a sense of urgency to help people there?" she said.

"Let's just say I'm a social worker with a minor in furniture," he said. "My daughter is a social worker, I believe in helping people as well. I was brought up with what my parents taught me. I don't know anything else."
Thanks, Jim. We needed that.

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