They say it’s important to count your blessings. A longtime Carlsbad resident is doing just that – and uniting her neighborhood in the process – with some simple notes of gratitude.
Over in a neighborhood off Tamarack Avenue, west of Interstate 5, there’s something called a “Thank You Poster” hanging on a set of mailboxes.
It’s a white poster board that reads “THANK YOU!”
Around the words hang brightly colored cards filled with handwritten things for which people in that neighborhood are grateful, such as the names of teachers and the name of the local U.S. Postal Service carrier that brings the mail to that community daily (Christian, by the way).
The cards represent essential workers keeping society running during the coronavirus pandemic.
Some read: “EMTs Ambulance Drivers;” “Health Care Workers;” “Amazon;” “FedEx;” “ABA Therapists – Mental Health Care;” “Food Workers;” “Police;” “Mask Makers;” “Food Bank;” “Good Neighbors.”
Sue Stewart, a fitness teacher who’s lived in Carlsbad for 20 years, made the board a couple of weeks ago to show appreciation for the people giving so much to her community during these dark times. She just wanted to say, “Thank You,” and hoped her neighbors would also give thanks.
“I am not artistic, so it was truly a labor of love,” Stewart told NBC 7. “I filled out all the places that were important to me and left the rest blank.”
Stewart left a note near the poster letting neighbors know they were invited to grab a card and write down the people or business they wanted to thank. She left a pen, a bag, and some antibacterial wipes near the poster.
At first, Stewart said people would walk by the poster, read it, and keep walking.
But then, one day, things changed.
“I went out there, and they were starting to fill in all of the blank cards,” she said, happily.
She couldn’t believe it. Her “Thank You Poster” was working. From a safe distance, it was bringing her neighbors together.
“That’s what I wanted,” Stewart explained. “I want this to be for our neighborhood. Right now, being connected is so important.”
Stewart said the poster has neighbors waving at her from across the street, hollering at her, “This is so cool!” People she’s never met before are stopping by to add to it. People are laughing and talking about it with one another, from a distance.
The other day, she said a neighbor walked by and said, “It’s all of us together – that’s what this is all about.”
Stewart said she smiled and replied, “You’re absolutely right!”
“It totally brings the neighbors together. People – they’re coming the other way – and they turn around! It brings us together – it really does.”
Stewart said she checks the poster every few days and there’s always a new card. Today, the poster holds more than a dozen notes of gratitude.
One addition made her laugh: "Liquor Stores," someone wrote.
"They actually put a happy face on it," Stewart said.
Her U.S. Postal Service carrier, Christian, stops at the mailboxes daily and when he sees his name on poster, he smiles and gives Stewart a thumbs up, she said.
Stewart said the simple project came from her heart because, really, even in our hardest times, there’s always someone to be grateful for – and we should tell them.
For Stewart, those people right now are the essential workers stepping up to help Carlsbad and San Diego County.
“I just felt like I had to do something,” Stewart told NBC 7. “Everybody’s got something, but I didn’t know what I could bring. But I knew I had to do something, and that’s where this came from.”
And a thank you – just like we learned as kids – sure goes a long way, even as adults.