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Why We Live Here: People are Nice

We’ve met lots of nice people in Highland Park, and are extraordinarily lucky that people here are tolerant of disabilities.

Jim Morrison of The Doors tells us “People Are Strange.”  No argument there.  But people are nice, and not so nice.  While eating with Luke recently in a Wisconsin restaurant, a woman sitting in the next booth asked me if I’d ever taught Luke table manners.  Not so nice. 

I saw a grandma (it was obvious) today at Once Upon a Bagel who wore a shirt that said “We could always be nicer.”  What a beautiful sentiment.  Much better than “Life is Good,” when sometimes it just isn’t. 

We’ve met lots of nice people in Highland Park, and are extraordinarily LUCKY that people here are tolerant of disabilities, and are very kind to Luke. 

You know these people—Bob Crimo of , Lynda Iovino at in Ravinia, Ruth and Jonathan at the library, Terry (now retired) and Freda at Sunset Foods.  There’s also the school bus drivers who wait for Luke at our driveway and the peer mentors at . Here are some examples of “saintly” kindness, as my husband Bob and I call it, because they may be harried, stressed-out employees who also just happen to care. 

When Luke began to ride his bike independently around the Ravinia business district, (OMG, not in downtown), his favorite destination was Bob’s White Hen Pantry.  He befriended Bob before his store in Ravinia got kicked to the curb by 7-11.  Luke now frequents Bob’s store on Oakwood.  All of the employees know him, make his sandwiches, and help him with his money. 

One day, Bob happened to see Luke leave the store and not take the bike trail, as he’s been told to do.  Bob knows this. He watched from the store as Luke got disoriented, and tried to navigate Sheridan Road.  It is not safe for an unsure rider such as Luke, especially during late afternoon.  He jumped in his “chicken van” and followed Luke.  My doorbell rang as Bob arrived, and Luke came into the garage simultaneously.  Bob had followed Luke down Sheridan Road, up Roger Williams and to our house on Rice to be sure he’d made it safely.  Of course I threw my arms around Bob and thanked him -- wouldn’t you?

The Ravinia Walgreen’s is also a favorite destination also for Luke.  Most of the employees know him, help him order photos, and find items that I give to him on a list.  He knows how to withdraw money from the ATM if his wallet is low.  He went recently and the ATM was down.  His purchases exceeded the money he had. He had no idea what to do.  The employees -- Linda Iovino and two others, taught Luke how to use the debit card machine and get cash back.  They spent time with him, knowing they had other responsibilities, not to mention the ten people in the checkout line. Everyone in line waited and watched.

Kudos to all of you who have made life for Luke comfortable, happy and safe in Highland Park!  I’m darned glad we moved here!

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Ericka Labedz May 16, 2012 at 12:30 PM
I second that! We have had overwhelmingly more positive experiences than negative during those nail-biting moments of community interaction in the four years we've lived in HP with our children, one of whom is on the autism spectrum. And we love Lynda too! What a nice testament.
laura bednarski May 17, 2012 at 12:46 PM
You are right! There are so many great people here. I clicked on this article because of my favorite Walgreens lady! Thanks for taking the time to point out the positive. I think so often people focus on what's wrong with people!!
Jack Straw May 17, 2012 at 01:51 PM
Lynda Iovino, she is the best love her.
Carolyn Cerf May 17, 2012 at 02:09 PM
Have you seen Linda sing at karaoke night or play her accordion? She has the most lovable personality in town. Love ya, Linda!
Paul Lazzaretti May 17, 2012 at 02:50 PM
Having grown up in HP I know that the people who live their are exceptional. It is a special town that brings out the best in people. I look forward to following Patch..
Doug Purington May 17, 2012 at 03:07 PM
I couldn't agree more with the nicety of Linda, Bob and others in our special area of Ravinia within Highland Park! Every time I go into Walgreens, I hope to see Linda and say hello...she is so pleasant! And as my wife and/or I pass her while performing her crossing guard duty, we're sure to exchange waves with her. And Bob has done a super job with his deli enterprise after being summarily kicked out of the White Hen Pantry location a few years back! It's been Ravinia and Highland Park's gain and the White Hen franchise's loss. And now that the 7-11 is gone (we knew that was just a matter of time!), hopefully Bob will reap the rewards from their closing. Kudos to these great people and all the many others just like them!
JO LEIB May 17, 2012 at 03:32 PM
Amy - thanks for writing this! It is nice to know. People give HP a bad rap and I was raised here and raised my kids here and still live here - so thanks for taking the time to write nice things - all too often people only take the time to be negative. I like to hear the positive. Jo
Maria Cassabaum May 17, 2012 at 04:02 PM
I've known Linda since 3rd grade and know first hand what an amazing person she is. Walgreen's is lucky to have a loyal, trust worthy and wonderful person such as she to work for them. I have lived in Highland Park since we migrated here from Italy in the 1950's. It is a community full of wonderful persons who have pride in there town and the people who live here. As Linda's father( Mr. Neil P. Iovino) would say: " God bless America!"
Danielle May 18, 2012 at 12:24 AM
I live and own a business in Ravinia! I agree with all the other comments! They are all wonderful at Walgreens. Michelle at Soshee boutique is amazing as well. Highlandpark is a wonderful place to raise children!
Terri Olian May 18, 2012 at 01:10 AM
I couldn't agree more with everyone comments or with Amy and the grandma whose shirt told a good story in and of itself.
Daniel May 18, 2012 at 04:49 PM
Bob is a great guy, keeps the police department busy and on their toes. http://highlandpark.patch.com/articles/police-blotter-battery-and-unlawful-restraint
Bryce Robertson May 18, 2012 at 08:15 PM
Daniel - that comment is totally unwarranted and unnecessary. That incident occurred over a year ago, and one small mistake (I do not even know the details, nor is it my place to ask) does not negate all of the good Bob has done for the community by participating in citywide promotions and events, and just giving people a place to go!
Amy Greenebaum May 18, 2012 at 10:12 PM
Terri thanks for reading me. Your opinion means a lot.
Stu Pidasso May 20, 2012 at 01:56 AM
Daniel, your "factual" arguments are fundamentally flawed. The Highland Park Police Dept. has yet to demonstrate any competence when it comes to domestic related issues and law enforcement in general. As a loyal customer I am privy to the knowledge of the resolution of the case in question, a DISMISSAL. I would strongly suggest studying the legal ramifications of slander against the person, in addition to it being morally repugnant. Your mental energy expenditure would be more effiently used dealing with your own problems rather than commenting on the past issues of others. Ultimatly this case was created as a product of police work by HPPD that would make Barny Fife look like an FBI agent. Remedial training, at a minimum, should be issued as a immediate directive.

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