Blog: Human Kindness Overflowing

Burt Ross

In the song “I think It’s Going To Rain Today,” the great songwriter Randy Newman refers to “human kindness overflowing.” I have experienced such human kindness overflowing ever since I returned to Malibu from a trip to the East Coast only to find my beautiful home reduced to a pile of debris.

I don’t begin to have room in this blog to mention all the acts of generosity I have witnessed, so please excuse any omissions.

The first night back, my bride and I had dinner at V’s Restaurant. The co-owner Yassen absolutely refused to charge us. The following night we went to Tramonto’s Restaurant, where Wilfredo also insisted on our not paying, despite the fact he had lost all business for an extended period. We later learned he had fed many first responders, again at no charge. The same thing was true at Paradise Cove, where its owner Bob Morris was running around helping first responders and handing out sandbags.

The outpouring of support from the community helped get us through the initial days of shock and numbness. And I will never forget those life-sustaining hugs—not obligatory pats on the back or pecks on the cheeks, but full throttle hugs. By the way, nobody gives better hugs than Lou La Monte.

Many friends, and in some instances strangers, offered us rooms to stay in their homes. I was especially moved by Luis, a waiter at Ollo’s, who upon hearing we had lost our home said he lives in Culver City and has a spare room for us to stay. “Mi casa, tu casa,” he offered.

Our precious friend Diane Carter put us up in her warm, charming home for several days, and her hospitality and graciousness helped us through some difficult days. Our dear friends Sam and Emily Mann also hosted us in their spectacular home, and also put together a team to rebuild our home—Wayne Chevalier, architect and Jon Hughes, general contractor.

Thanks to our good friends Steve and Paula Mae Schwartz. They provided badly needed laughter.

My special thanks go to Paul Grisanti, a top-notch real estate agent and friend, who moved heaven and earth to find us a rental house until we can regain our footing.

And then there are Karen and Arnold York, who managed to put out a paper against all odds, and made herculean efforts to keep us all informed. Their organizing “Operation Recovery” will help all of us who suffered damage get through the days ahead.

All these acts of kindness are simply the tip of the iceberg, examples of what this city is made of. People are coming together to help one another in a way I have never experienced before.

I called my brother Phil to share these heartwarming experiences. Phil thought for a moment and then uttered, “Malibu sure has soul.” Isn’t that the truth!