As we settle into the groove of 2014, the Internet appears to be even fuller than usual with viral challenges and circulating memes that center on the theme of “paying it forward.” This trend towards positivity allows people to rack up their good karma while making life better for others through series of generous, random acts of kindness without expectation of anything in return. The idea is that from one good deed can inspire a chain of kind acts, with each recipient of an act “paying it forward.”
This week’s Crown Jewels are a dynamic due who took the idea of “paying it forward” a step further. Kyle Oreffice and Josh Gibson are the founder of Give Back Films, a Youtube channel dedicated to doing unto others in surprisingly big ways.
The young team goes into the world and financially gifts less fortunate people that they come into contact with, filming the peoples (often emotional) reactions. Past videos show them giving hundred dollar bills to homeless people, tipping a waitress $200 and most recently, gifting a hotel maid with $500.
On their Facebook page Oreffice and Gibson said, “…we have been fortunate enough to be in a better position than a lot of people in the world… we want to give back, and that is what our channel is all about. Hopefully through seeing our videos, others will be inspired to pay it forward and give back a little too.”
While some are busy giving away their worldly possessions, others are occupied with gaining as much material wealth as they can and by whatever means necessary.
The past few weeks, the media has spent a lot of time criticizing former Virginia governor, Bob McDonnell, and his wife Maureen for their indictment on giving false statements, conspiring to commit fraud, obstruction of justice and sought favors in return for official action from April 2011 to March 2013.
With his elected official status, many hold Bob to the highest degree of accountability for these monetary crimes of passion. However, in this edition of the Mace Spray we will be analyzing a few of the reasons that Maureen, not money, may be the root of evil in this scandal.
With five children to care for and educate, the McDonnell family was broke long before Bob ran for Governor. In an email between Maureen and one of her aids before McDonnell’s 2009 inauguration, Maureen wrote, “We are broke, have an unconscionable amount of credit card debt… and this Inaugural is killing us!! I need answers and I need help…”
The rest of the story is a tale as old as time. Struggling politician and wife meet struggling diet-pill entrepreneur. Entrepreneur bribes the politician and wife with gifts and trips so that they will publicly endorse his research and product. Then when they are caught with dirty hands, they say it’s all in the name of friendship.
From the bare bones of the story, it looks like both McDonnell’s share equal blame for being naughty. However, when we assess the individual material goods that equal a staggering total of $140,805.46, that entrepreneur Jonnie R. Williams Sr. of plummeting Star Scientific Inc. dropped on the couple, it is clear who wears the pants in the McDonnell house.
Of the 28 known gifts that the McDonnell’s received from Williams the list includes a $15,000 catering bill for a McDonnell daughter wedding, a Louis Vuitton wallet and several pairs of Louis Vuitton shoes as well as dresses by Peter Som and Armani (these items perhaps part of the $20,000 Manhattan shopping spree she had on William’s dime).
To be fair to poor, if not overdressed Maureen, Bob received his fair share of golf bags and clubs and even an engraved Rolex. Who could blame the man? No one is crazy enough to risk federal prison and without at least improving his golf game in the process.
Her extravagant taste aside, the fact that nails Maureen’s coffin shut is that she was the one who presented Bob with the forbidden fruit of bribery. Struggling to look cute for her husband’s above mentioned 2009 inauguration, Maureen asked Williams to buy her an Oscar de la Renta dress. She had to “rain check” the “gift” at the last minute because her aide found out and pressured her into declining it.
A modern day Adam and Eve, the McDonnell’s are being forced to make an early departure from their worldly possessions. The two are looking at facing the latter part of their lives in prison.
By Adrienne Mayfield