Thumbs up to various nursing homes and senior living facilities for their random acts of kindness and efforts to bring joy to residents’ lives during this trying time of the pandemic.

Residents of the Primrose Retirement Community this week were involved in a pay-it-forward program as they provided workers who take care of them with two gift cards — one for themselves and one to pay forward to some friend or other in need.

It was a fine way to show the need for human kindness and gratefulness.

At the Pillars of Mankato, staff welcomed a new resident in Parker the golden retriever, a four-legged friend all the residents can enjoy. Trained to live in a senior setting, Parker has a sense of what level of interaction each resident is comfortable with.

Some who weren’t known as “dog people” found the presence of Parker really brought joy to their day and lightened up their life.

A sign of a society’s kindness is how well it treats its most vulnerable members. Senior care facilities in Mankato fulfill that promise well.

Affordable housing

Thumbs up to members of both parties for looking for ways to address the desperate need for more affordable housing units in Minnesota

Lawmakers are pushing bills to address the lagging stock of emergency shelter space, multi-family housing at affordable rents and availability of entry-level, single-family homes.

Gov. Tim Walz has has proposed bonding for $100 million for supportive housing, senior housing and manufactured home parks.

Sen. Rich Draheim, R-Madison Lake and head of a Senate housing panel, said zoning, energy and building codes and density rules should also be looked at to make it easier to build more affordable housing.

It will take a multi-pronged approach to increase the stock of affordable housing. Lack of housing hinders businesses from attracting employees and it harms lower-income people. It’s an issue lawmakers on both sides of the aisle know is important.

Persistence pays

Thumbs up to the 90-year-old Washington state woman who was so determined to make her vaccine appointment that she made a 6-mile roundtrip walk for it.

Fran Goldman had been trying non-stop to secure an appointment to get the COVID-19 shot, including being online all night trying to book a slot, the Seattle Times reported.

After finally getting a spot, she was determined not to miss it, despite a weekend snowstorm that dumped nearly a foot of snow.

Equipped with a new hip last year, she practiced her route the day before the appointment. When the day arrived, she got there just a few minutes late after her long journey.

Goldman’s experience reinforces how valuable the vaccine is and how key it is that everyone do what they can to get it.

‘Cancun Ted’ Cruz

Thumbs down to Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, the most recent public “servant” to demonstrate a preference for private pleasure.

The once and (probable) future presidential aspirant, with his home state locked in a crisis without reliable power or potable water, responded Wednesday by sneaking off with his family to a ritzy resort in Cancun. He came back Thursday (rather than his planned Sunday) amid the furor.

Such behavior has been unfortunately common during the pandemic. Think, for example, of California Gov. Gavin Newsom, a Democrat who flouted his own lockdown rules to attend a birthday party for a lobbyist. Or the Denver mayor who urged residents to stay home for Thanksgiving, then jetted off to Houston for the holiday.

Cruz’s immediate explanation for his escapade was that he was “just trying to be a good dad.” In contrast: During the London Blitz in World War II, it was suggested in England that Princess Elizabeth and her sister be evacuated to the countryside for their safety. The queen responded: “The girls won’t leave without me, I won’t leave without the king, and the king will never leave.”

Texans — and other Americans should Cruz seek the White House again — should remember that when the going got tough, Ted Cruz got going to Cancun.

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