Small Gesture, Lifelong Impact

It’s “Tuesday Newsday,” the day when Dean Burnetti Law brings you news of recalls, legal or political events, other important happenings, or just uplifting stories that make your heart smile…

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Happy Tuesday Newsday, friends! Today we’re going to take you on a 40-year-long journey to show you how one small act of kindness meant the world – and changed the world – for the recipient.

Forty-two years ago in 1979, five-year-old Nhung Tran stepped off an airplane in Edmonton, Canada.  But her life hadn’t always been as luxurious as it was on that plane.  In fact, none of it was.  Nhung’s life started in war-torn Vietnam where the family (including her mother and five siblings) lost everything they owned.  Every single thing. 

Prior to their arrival in the airport that day, they spent 8 months in a Malaysian refugee camp before they got the great news that a church in Alberta, Canada wanted to sponsor them to immigrate to Canada.

Nhung vividly recalls the trip on the wooden fishing boat for that the refugees took from Vietnam to Malaysia … “Being four years old having gone from war and poverty, we had lost everything, so being cramped up in a boat with a boat with 300 other refugees in the belly of the boat I can only remember how nauseating and suffocating it was.  People were throwing up where they were sitting … defecating where they were, it was just a horrible experience.”

But when Nhung’s family passed through the gates of the airport in Canada, a little girl named Adrienne was waiting for them.  Her eyes locked with Nhung’s and she immediately presented frightened little Nhung with a doll.

Nhung recalled, “This little girl presented a little gift … this doll lit up my heart and, in that moment, it meant everything to me.  The doll came to symbolize for me all the kindness, compassion, and generosity of Canadians and I knew that our lives would change forever.”

The doll also marked the start of what became a life-long friendship between Nhung and Adrienne, who to this day are still close.

The small gesture of giving a doll, from one little girl to another, created a ripple effect that inspired Nhung to become a doctor so she could pay it forward by helping others.

In fact, Nhung recently paid it forward in the most magnanimous way by sponsoring a refugee family who was fleeing the Syrian war.  She said, “At the height of the Syrian war and seeing all the images of people fleeing across the sea and thousands perishing at sea, it just reminded me the journey that our family made as boat people.  It was heart-wrenching to see children suffering in these camps. I just felt compelled by these images.”

When the family she sponsored arrived at the airport, Nhung was prepared.  She stood at the gates with a doll to present to the family’s youngest daughter, Alma.  Nhung recalled, “It was my turn now, 40 years later, to be standing at the gates to give little Alma a doll. It was just an amazing, important moment for myself, but I think it meant something to her because I know that in 40 years it will be her turn to make Canada a more beautiful place.”

The experience of coming full circle also inspired Dr. Nhung Tran-Davies to write a children’s book entitled “The Doll.”  The book details her experience in receiving her own doll from Adrienne as well as her own gift of a doll to Alma.  And it reminds people how the ripple effect from one single act of kindness can reverberate for years to come and the ripples can literally touch the lives of thousands.

Now, our question to you, dear reader, is: what will you do today that will touch the life of someone else?

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Renewed

It’s Monday. Welcome to a new week. Today is the day for “Monday Ministry.” Did you know that Attorney Dean Burnetti went to seminary before he was called to the legal field?  The following is a devotion given to you by Dean…

2 Corinthians 4:16 – “That is why we never give up. Though our bodies are dying, our spirits are being renewed every day.”

As a young man I had a mindset that my physical condition should constantly be improving. I always wanted to be able to look at myself in the mirror at the end of the year and say that I’m better now than what I was a year before. That worked out well until the age of 55.

Now, I am actually over 60. Looking in the mirror and saying that I’m better now than what I was 12 months ago has become difficult.  Simply trying to maintain as I am sliding down life’s aged slope has become tough.

Today, as I read today’s scripture, it places things in focus for me as a Believer.
My body is no longer improving each year. I am aging.

But that is not so important in the grander scheme of my journey as a Christian.
Christ promises that each day, my spirit is renewed. It will constantly continue to grow in the grace of God. It is that spiritual being that will one day have a new body and will live forever in the presence of God.

Today, continue to work on your physical, body but remember to focus on who you really are. You are a spiritual being in Jesus Christ forever.

Stay healthy and have a blessed week!

~Dean Burnetti

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That Friday Feeling!

You all knew Dean was a Boy Scout, right? Have a magnificent weekend, friends!

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Cornucopia of Yum!

Happy Throwback Thursday, friends!  Today we wanted to give you advance notice to gather any supplies you may need to celebrate a very special anniversary tomorrow… Tomorrow, June 23, marks the 117th anniversary of the birth of the ice cream cone!

Of course, ice cream itself was not a new thing.  (Remember when we told you that President James Madison’s wife, Dolley, adored oyster ice cream?!  In fact, ice cream’s origins can be tracked back as far as 2 B.C.!) But the cone we all love wasn’t born until 1904.  While some believe that Charles Menches first pondered filling a pastry shell in the shape of a cone with scoops of ice, he was actually one of several who claimed the honor of inventing the delicacy.  Others included: David Avayou, Abe Doumar, Arnold Fornachou, Ernest Hamwi, and Albert and Nick Kabbaz have all been credited in one citation or another as the inventors of the original edible ice cream cone. Whoever it was, these men all made and sold confections at the 1904 Louisiana Purchase Exposition, better known as the 1904 St. Louis World’s Fair.  This is the undisputed time and location that the “edible cornucopia” (a cone created by rolling a waffle) was born.  (Can you imagine heading down to Cold Stone and asking for a “Like It”, “Love It”, or “Gotta Have It” sized chocolate chip edible cornucopia?)    

The year prior to the St. Louis World’s Fair, Italo Marchiony patented his idea for “edible ice cream cups with handles”.  However, these were molded and looked much different than the rolled waffle cornucopias that have evolved into what we all know and love.   In fact, Europeans used paper and metal cones to hold ice cream and Middle Easterners used pita bread for the same purpose lone before the 1904 Fair, but while those methods are certainly clever, they’re not the same as the cone.

Ice cream itself has also evolved over time to be something we now recognize as a delicacy.  Alexander the Great enjoyed snow flavored with honey and nectar.  The Roman emperor Nero Claudius Caesar often sent runners into the mountains for snow then had it flavored with fruits and juices.  Also, Marco Polo was said to have brought a recipe for creating a flavorful frozen ice and milk blend from his trips abroad.  Now, we have such additional variations as frozen yogurt, frozen custard, ice milk, sherbet, gelato, sorbet, Italian ice, soft serve, and even vegan ice cream.

The first documented full-time manufacturing of ice cream took place in 1851 in Baltimore, when milk dealer Jacob Fussell experienced surplus of fresh cream. Since he needed to sell the cream before it soured, he made an abundance of ice cream and sold it at a discount.  However, the mechanical freezer wasn’t patented until 1899, so storing extra ice cream until then may have proved difficult in communities that didn’t have an ice house. 

As it turned out, the soda shop or ice cream fountain became a mid-century American teenage hangout and popularized the delicious treat even more.  So, tomorrow, either go to your freezer or head to the ice cream shop and go large with your “Gotta Have It” edible cornucopia!

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Falsely Accused

Wednesday is the day YOU get to “Ask an Attorney.”  Just leave your question in the comments below, and if your question is selected, it will be answered on an upcoming Wednesday by one of our attorneys at Dean Burnetti Law.

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Cathy G. from Brandon asks, “I injured my neck and shoulder in a car accident last night.  I was visiting my sister’s new house in Lakeland which is located in a large, older, ungated subdivision (which was unfamiliar territory to me).  As I headed out, it was dark, and when I crossed an intersection, I was hit broadside.  However, when the police arrived, they gave me the ticket!  Apparently, I ran through a stop sign.  But the stop sign was covered with a low hanging tree and, not being familiar with the neighborhood, I didn’t see it! I was too shaken up to argue this fact with the police officer.  Is there anything I can do about the ticket?  Also, can I do anything about my injuries and my car damage, or since I’m apparently to blame, am I out of luck?”

Hi, Cathy.  I’m very sorry about your accident and your injuries.  The first thing you need to do is go back to the scene of the accident right away and take photos AND video of the stop sign and the tree before someone cuts it back.   Take photos and video from all angles, including the view of what it looked like as you drove toward it.  If the tree has been cut back, be sure to photograph and video the freshly cut limbs (and if the cuttings are still placed out for garbage removal, capture the stack of them also).  While you’re there, write down the addresses of any homes that overlook the scene of that stop sign.  Next, make an appointment right away with an experienced personal injury attorney such as myself.  An attorney can go with you to fight the ticket, and they can also determine who owns the property with the tree on it (whether it is a person or the city) and name them in a personal injury claim for your bodily injuries and vehicle damage.  If the other driver files a claim against you, your attorney can then direct a third-party claim against the party who should have been responsible for the overgrown tree.  Finally, do not give a recorded statement to any insurance company that contacts you other than your own until you speak to an attorney.  While you are obligated to speak to your own insurer, your attorney will want to be present for any other recorded statements you may give.

Best wishes!

~Dean Burnetti

[If you have a question for one of our attorneys, please write it in the comments below, and be sure to check back soon for a response.]

(The information contained herein is for informational purposes only, and does not constitute legal advice.)

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Let’s Dance!

It’s “Tuesday Newsday,” the day when Dean Burnetti Law brings you news of recalls, legal or political events, other important happenings, or just uplifting stories that make your heart smile…

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Happy Tuesday Newsday, friends!  To elicit smiles today, let’s… dance! Last week, the Museum of the City of New York and their new exhibition New York, New Music: 1980-1986 collaborated with Improv Everywhere, a New York City-based comedy collective that stages unexpected performances in public places, to surprise pedestrians with an unexpected dance party.

The improv group affixed a decal that read “stand here for dance party” to the pavement in the Grand Army Plaza, an open space near the southeast corner of Central Park. While many passersby saw the sign, read the sigh, and even photographed the sign, it took a while for the first person to actually follow the instructions on the sign and place their feet on the footprints.

But once the first person did opt to “stand here,” they got exactly what they were promised:  A dance party!  In fact, the dance party consisted of 100 dance crew members and a vintage 1980s boombox.  (Have no fear:  Everyone in the cast and crew were fully vaccinated for COVID-19.) 

After the decal was placed, the crew split up and blended into the surroundings while they waited for someone to stand on it.  But once a person “stood there,” the boombox started blaring music and the dancers started dancing in from all directions.  And the person “standing there” got the surprise of their life – and usually ended up dancing along!

Many of the dance troupe’s “undercover agents” entered the area in small groups, making it appear like they were just regular people off the street who spontaneously joined the party.  This smooth move inspired non-dancers who weren’t involved to join in the fun and things escalated pretty quickly.

Eventually, more undercover performers and unsuspecting bystanders joined in, and the party grew. This inspired a dance circle to form with people taking turns in the spotlight.

The Dance Party was triggered 8 times over a 90-minute timespan.  Each time the music faded out, the dancers went their separate ways and blended back into the streetscape, leaving witnesses to wonder what just happened.

Regardless, how could an improv dace party like this not induce a load of smiles and giggles? 

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Complete Integrity

It’s Monday. Welcome to a new week. Today is the day for “Monday Ministry.” Did you know that Attorney Dean Burnetti went to seminary before he was called to the legal field?  The following is a devotion given to you by Dean…

John 1:47 – “As they approached, Jesus said, ‘Now here is a genuine son of Israel—a man of complete integrity.’”

As I grow older, I find it very important to make compliments to others around me. It really costs very little from me, but I think it actually has a very positive effect upon those around me.

When I read today’s scripture, I thought to myself what an amazing experience to be complemented by Jesus Christ the Lord as Nathaniel was. To be referred to as a person of complete integrity. I can’t think of such a better thing to remember in your life than Jesus the Messiah giving you such a compliment.

Know that even today, you can compliment others and it will remain in their spirit long into the future. For you, it’s a very small sacrifice, but for others, it is priceless.

Your words and your compliments remain eternal in the heart of another. Your words really do make a difference.

Stay healthy and have a blessed week!

~Dean Burnetti

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Thankful!

Have a great weekend, friends!

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Looking Way Back…

Today’s WayBack ride will take us all the way back to the year Dean Burnetti was born – 1957, the peak of the Baby Boomer years.   Dwight D. Eisenhower was our nation’s President and his Vice President was Richard M. Nixon. 

A new home cost a whopping $20,000!  The average household income was $4,454.00 (and typically only the husband worked).  A gallon of gas cost 24¢; a gallon of milk cost $1; a dozen eggs cost 82¢; a first-class stamp cost 3¢; and minimum wage was $1 per hour!  (That’s $40 a week, if you worked full time!)

Speaking about the cost of living, a pair of boy’s corduroy slacks cost $2.99, while a girl’s dress was $3.99, while a lady’s dress cost $12.98; a pair of plastic rain boots ran 49¢; a boy’s wool coat ran $16.80, while a man’s finest camelhair overcoat ran $89.50; children’s shoes were $4.90 a pair, and men’s leather loafers were $9.90 a pair.

In 1957, if you worked as an assembler (assembling what, we don’t know), you could expect to make $1.31 per hour.  A cafeteria manager took home $75 a week.  A clerk or typist made $50 a week.  Automobile salesmen made between $7,000 and $10,000 a year.  An office mail boy made $49 a week. A payroll assistant made $65 a week.  A stenographer made $70 a week.  And an executive secretary made a whopping $75 a week!  (Wow!)

Back then, money spent at the grocery store was much different in proportion to your income than it is today. For example, a 4-pound bag of apples cost 39¢; A beef round roast was 69¢ per pound; A pound of butter was 67¢; Bacon was 49¢ per pound; Chicken was 39¢ per pound; Campbell’s Tomato Soup was 10¢ a can; Tetley Tea was 61¢ for a 48-count box of tea bags; Green Giant Corn was 27¢ for 2 27-ounce cans; Nabisco Saltines were 49¢ for two 16-ounce packages; Minute Maid frozen orange juice was 89¢ for six 8-ounce cans; and Dannon Yogurt was 35¢ for two 8-ounce cups.

The cost of appliances was different per cost-to-income ratio, but keep in mind that back then, things were built to last 20 or more years.  For example, a clothes dryer ran about $88; A Kitchen-aid dishwasher cost $188; depending on the style, a Tappan electric range ran between $179.95 and $279.95; A Toastmaster toaster cost $11.95; a Kenmore vacuum cleaner cost $68; and a Norge washing machine cost $158.

Let’s put our wallets away and talk about top TV shows that year, that is if you lived in a TV area, AND if your family actually owned a TV set yet.  (Yes, A TV set – ONE.)  Think I’m joking?  In 1950, only 9% of homes in America had a TV, and by 1960, that figure jumped to 90%.  Anyway, in 1957, the top-rated TV shows were: Gunsmoke; The Danny Thomas Show; Tales of Wells Fargo (that’s the stage coach, not the bank!); Have Gun – Will Travel; I’ve Got a Secret; The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp (it’s kind of hard to believe they could write an entire series about this, isn’t it?); General Electric Theater; The Restless Gun; December Bride; and You Bet Your Life.

The top songs that year included: Elvis Presley’s All Shook Up; The Everly Brothers’ Bye Bye Love; The Diamonds’ Little Darlin’; Perry Como’s Round and Round; Jimmy Dorsey’s So Rare; Don’t Forbid Me by Pat Boone (You know – the guy who does the walk-in tub commercials now); Guy Mitchell’s Singing the Blues; Sonny James’ Young Love; Elvis Presley’s Too Much; and Tab Hunter’s Young Love (Yes, it was actually common back then to have multiple artists record the same song around the same time.)

Top rated movies that year included: The Bridge on the River Kwai; Peyton Place; Sayonara; Old Yeller; The Curse of Frankenstein; Raintree County; Island in the Sun; Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter?; A Farewell to Arms; and Gunfight at the O.K. Corral.

The news back then didn’t focus on such things as we hear about today such as what actor is dating whom, where some famous girl ate her lunch, or what the President wore to a meeting.  Instead, they saw such headlines as:  Soviet Union (that’s Russia) inaugurates the “Space Age” by launching Sputnik I, the world’s first artificial satellite. A month later, Sputnik II carries a dog into orbit, making that dog the first living being to enter space;  President Eisenhower announces the “Eisenhower Doctrine,” pledging defense of Middle Eastern nations against communism;  Federal troops ordered to enforce integration of schools in Little Rock, Arkansas; Despite record-setting filibuster by Senator Strom Thurmond, Congress approves the first significant civil rights legislation since the Civil War;  The University of Alabama enrolls its first black student;  The U.S. Supreme Court invalidates a Montgomery, Alabama, law that provides for segregation in interstate bus travel;   Britain detonates hydrogen bomb; The U.S. conducts its first underground nuclear test; 128 people die over the Grand Canyon when 2 airplanes collide; One of the most publicized marriages of the century occurs between Hollywood Actress Grace Kelley and Prince Rainer III of Monaco; and the first transatlantic telephone cable stretches 2250 miles, from Oban, Scotland, to Clarenville, Newfoundland. (So, you see, they had a wide variety of excitement to discuss around the water cooler, including civil rights progression, technological progress, defense from communism, and the thrilling space race.  The news was probably a good conversation starter since the TV selection back them seemed a little ho-hum.)

In 1957, pop culture news was just as riveting:  General Foods Corp. introduced TANG breakfast beverage crystals (the thing that astronauts later drank); 5,000 new products hit the supermarket shelves, including the very first frozen pizza; The Edsel was introduced by Ford Motor Company with a big fanfare and lots of hoopla; Theodore Geisel, better known as Dr. Seuss, wrote the ever popular Cat in the Hat; The King of Rock and Roll, Elvis Presley, exploded onto the scene, starting a revolution in the music industry – He also purchased Graceland that year for the unheard of amount of $102,500; Actor Humphrey Bogart died; The final “I Love Lucy” episode aired; The word “beatnik” entered the vernacular as a description of the emerging “Beat Generation” counterculture movement (A beatnik was kind of a pre-hippie that hung around coffee houses and recited “strange” poetry) ; The first Midas Muffler Shop opened, and the first battery-powered wristwatch was introduced by Hamilton; “American Bandstand” went national with Dick Clark as its host; 71 cities had populations of one million or more in 1957 while 40 years earlier, there were only 16 such cities; Popular toys were Slinkys, Hula Hoops, and Frisbees; The Cavern Club opened in Liverpool (which would later be where The Beatles got their start); And the continued growth of the use of credit was shown by the fact that two-thirds of all new cars were bought on credit.

Well, folks, this concludes our #TBT WayBack ride for the day.  We knew you’d stay with us since you’re no square.  We hope you had as hip of a time as we did, Daddy-O.  Because we thought this keen info was like wow.   Later, gators.

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When the Caregiver Doesn’t Care

Wednesday is the day YOU get to “Ask an Attorney.”  Just leave your question in the comments below, and if your question is selected, it will be answered on an upcoming Wednesday by one of our attorneys at Dean Burnetti Law.

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Courtney L. from Winter Haven asks, “When I was a child, a woman watched my brother and me after school along with 3 other kids.  Her husband was mean and abusive and threatened us that if we told on him, he would hurt us more.  That’s why, when I had my son in February, I started looking for a child care center that was part of a well-known chain.  I figured no abuse could go on there.  At first, everything went well.  Then a few weeks ago, my baby started crying every time I left him there.  I figured it was a phase, but then I learned that there was a new assistant in his room and I started paying closer attention.  I started noticing very faint, tiny bruises but my husband said I was imagining things and he couldn’t see anything wrong.  Next, I started documenting a diaper rash that got increasingly worse during the week days.  The final straw was when he stopped eating and lost nearly 2 pounds!  The pediatrician agrees with me that something isn’t right and that it’s some type of stress causing my son’s issues.  Now, my husband notices the difference in our child’s behavior, too, which is only on the weekdays when he goes to daycare.  We think something underhanded is going on there!  We are on a waiting list for a new school, but while we wait, I’ve had to take a leave of absence from work!  Can we sue this place and get them shut down?” 

Hi, Courtney.  I’m so sorry about your son!  As far as civil law goes, a personal injury lawsuit may be difficult to pursue because even though there may have been an injury (bruises), there is not likely a permanent injury or scar that resulted from any potential wrongdoing.  However, there may be other civil avenues you can take.  Furthermore, you may very well have a criminal matter to pursue, or at least a public interest story that will likely raise a few eyebrows.  Allow me to ask you some questions:  Did you ever bring up your concerns to the facility’s director?  Did you ever pop in at different times during the day to check on your son?  Did you notice any other children with bruises or soiled clothing or who didn’t want to be left there?  Have you spoken to any other parents whose children go to the same facility?  When you visit your child’s pediatrician, please tell him or her everything concerning the daycare facility, and after that appointment, please make an appointment to speak to an attorney as soon as possible to explore your options.

Best wishes!

 ~Dean Burnetti

 [If you have a question for one of our attorneys, please write it in the comments below, and be sure to check back soon for a response.]

 (The information contained herein is for informational purposes only, and does not constitute legal advice.)

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