Miami-Dade County Commissioner Jose “Pepe” Diaz, who started the initiative 14 Days of Neighborly Love,, calls it a shock of kindness.
When is the last time you saw the price of a gallon drop below $3? Drivers in Sweetwater must have thought their eyes were playing tricks on them. They filled up at $2.14 per gallon on Valentine’s Day.
They have “14 Days of Neighborly Love” to thank for it. Miami-Dade County Commissioner Jose “Pepe” Diaz, who started the initiative, calls it a shock of kindness. He says with the current state of the economy, people are finding less to smile about.
"They're mad. They have issues, very serious issues [like] losing their homes. They don’t have a job or lost a job," said the District 12 commissioner.
He wanted to change that. On V-day, it wasn’t just customers who were doing the smiling. Anthony Cuevas — the owner of the Finish Line gas station — was feeling pretty good too. Days after the prices were slashed, he says customers are still saying thank you.
Commissioner Diaz says it paid off for him as well.
"It’s rewarding. Whether it’s helping to wash cars or windows, I’m there to do it because I’ve gotten a lot out of this,” he said.
Browse through 14daysoflovemiami.com and you’ll see a calendar of events going on until the Feb. 27. These include free marriage counseling, carwashes, and tax prep help from accountants.
Get Credit Healthy, Inc., a company with offices in Doral, decided to pay it forward by arming people with credit knowledge.
"Bad credit prevents you from buying a home, leasing the place you want, and even applying for student loans,” said Elizabeth Karwowski, the company’s CEO.
By offering free one-on-one consultations, they hope to teach people easy steps to take on their own to improve their credit.
Even little ones are catching on to the idea. Diaz treated honor roll students at the Youth Co-op Charter School in Hialeah Gardens to a pizza party. He asked them to do something good for another person, in turn.
"I want you to think of things you can do to help your friends and family. They looked at each other, saying, ‘that’s a good idea!,’ Diaz remarked.
The students promised to help at home by doing chores like washing dishes. The hope is the initiative will not only turn into a yearly event, but inspire others to be kind, every day of the year.