Musical “Come From Away” Radiates Joy and Human Kindness

The musical “Come From Away” is playing in Denver and elsewhere.


It’s the story of 9,000 townspeople in Gander, Newfoundland who welcomed 6,700 unexpected guests on September 11, 2001.

When terrorism struck the airways, all U.S. air traffic stopped.

Planes en route  to the states had to go somewhere, and 38 of them landed in Gander, a town with 550 hotel rooms.

The play celebrates human decency in the face of calamity.

Retiring Gander mayor, Claude Elliott. (USA Today photo)

Last year retiring Gander mayor, Claude Elliott, spoke with USA Today reporter, Katherine Lackey:

“What we consider the most simple thing in life is to help people.

“You’re not supposed to look at people’s color, their religion, their sexual orientation — you look at them as people.

“One thing this world is lacking today is common sense.

“You’re not supposed to look at people’s color, their religion, their sexual orientation — you look at them as people.”

“We have to set more of an example and show the world we can all live in harmony regardless of what we are,” the mayor said.

The Graciousness of Gander

“Come From Away” amplifies what Gander showed the world.

And in recent years churches in Gander raised enough money to bring five Syrian families to Gander.

“One thing this world is lacking today is common sense,”

They saw a need and responded.

Yet those not from the island will always be considered “come from aways.”

And, in truth, aren’t we all?

The story’s creators, Irene Sankoff and David Hein, said they “found hope in a story about human kindness.”

It’s clear throughout, and by the end joy pulsates.

A final scene depicts the reunion in Gander 10 years after the planes landed.

A Newfoundlander says, “On the northeast tip of North America, on an island called Newfoundland, there’s an airport – and next to it, is a town called Gander.

“Tonight, we honor what was lost. But we also commemorate what we found!”

Make Kindness the Norm: World Kindness Day November 13

Last year I was at a table sitting next to a well-known newspaper opinion editor.

I thought I was adding to the conversation when I said I subscribe to the optimist news from the Washington Post.

He and a writer on my other side exchanged smirks.

They spoke over me as one asked, “Does your paper have optimistic news?”

“We have news,” was the reply.

Shut down.

“Recently I’ve been on a mission to both find and create more kindness in my world. . .” S. Petrow

Tuesday, November 13, is World Kindness Day.

It’s sponsored by Random Acts of Kindness.

“Make kindness the norm” is campaign slogan that’s really an invitation.

Last month the Washington Post published, “How a ‘kindness contagion’ improves lives, especially now.”

I love this article.

The author, Steven Petrow, won me with his earnest opening.

“Recently I’ve been on a mission to both find and create more kindness in my world. . .” he wrote.

Thinking back on the dinner I attended, I remember the lively people at the far end of the table nodding and urging my quiet daughter’s conversation contribution forward.

They shared time skillfully and playfully, and what I witnessed happening down there was kindness.

I, on the other hand, was flanked by sarcasm and my own discomfort.

Yet optimism always seems to win out.

Like Mr. Petrow, I’m off to “find and create more kindness in my world.”

And who couldn’t use a bigger dose of both of those?

Take Action!

•  See oodles of resources at Random Acts of Kindness.

•  Read the Washington Post’s, How a ‘kindness contagion’ improves life, especially nowby Steven Petrow.

• Treat yourself  to learning about Ben’s Bells where the motto is “Be Kind” and their mission is to teach “the importance of intentional kindness.”

•  Link to past posts related to kindness:
Alan Turgeon, thank you for your decency
Mr. Rogers, it’s time to bring back what you taught us
Gillette against hate
Pain should not be wasted

•  Watch this 1.5 minute kindness video:

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Ellen is a native of northern Maine. Her interest in getting to know Wyoming focuses on ways people and organizations help and protect individuals, wildlife, beauty, and rights. She is a HeartMath® trainer and coach, a Connection Practice trainer and coach, and a biodynamic craniosacral therapist. Her website is: and her email is

. . . justice is what love looks like in public.” Cornel West