Emergency medical care is a terrifying thing, especially when it involves surgery, and emergency heart surgery is one of the most frightening. In San Diego, California, there is a man named Seth Marko who owns a bookstore with his wife Jennifer Powell, and then that horrible thing happened to him; he was in need of emergency open heart surgery and that left Jennifer to handle their needs. First was finding care for their young daughter so she could be with Marko during his 10 hour operation, then it was what to do with their business? They had been running The Book Catapult for a few years and their only employee was out with the swine flu for at least a week. So Jennifer decided to close the store and hope to be able to make ends meet enough to be able to open it up again after the surgery and recovery.
But the person she had left their daughter with was an old friend, Scott Ehrig-Burgess, who just so happened to be an employee at another book store in town who had previously worked for the couple when they opened their store and still had keys. Scott decided to make a few calls to others in the same field, and after four calls to four book sellers, he had four volunteers to help him keep the store open. Within a day of Marko’s surgery that number had doubled to 8 volunteers who all worked at competing book stores in the San Diego area but were juggling their schedules to keep The Book Catapult running for the week it took the employee to recover and return to work. Marko and Jennifer’s parents flew in to help out as well and the store never closed, and the customers never knew.
Marko’s recovery is still on going and there is much still to be done before he will be able to get back to work at either of his jobs. “We’re slowly pivoting toward putting it back on them,” said Ehrig-Burgess, who also started a GoFundMe for Powell and Marko. “They’re doing 80 percent now.”
As for why these employees of other book stores in the area would help one of their competition? One of the volunteers Julie Slavinsky said although the Book Catapult is, strictly speaking, a competitor to her employer, she doesn’t see things that way. “The book world is a little bit different,” she said. “I see this as helping somebody in the community. It’s the community coming together.” Powell said she can’t offer enough thanks to all those who have helped her and her husband.
While there will be plenty of times you will come into competition with someone it is important to remember that we are all one community. The community of God is commanded to care for one another and love one another as God loves us. Carry that thought and a smile with you Today and read more about how The Book Catapult stayed open in your Good News Story of the day here.
Story and Image from The Washington Post.