Did you watch that show on ABC, Secret Millionaire?
Tonight, a woman named Dani Johnson — self-made businesswoman and millionaire — went to Knoxville, Tennessee. She visited a bunch of sites, including a place called “Love Kitchen” run by two of the sweetest ladies.
Dani also gave money to a music school, a family with a daughter who has leukemia, and a company that provides room makeovers for sick children.
Dani lives in the community for a week, visits sites that serve the community, gets involved, and then reveals her true wealth. She doles out checks to folks before departing town again. At the end of the show, we see that good came from this money and that real lives were touched.
I did some snooping around the Internet and it didn’t take long for folks to start bagging on the show. They said it was scripted (it’s television folks) and that Dani comes off as a self-serving person.
Is this all true?
I don’t know. I don’t know Dani.
Now, will Dani Johnson get some exposure from all this? Of course! Were people’s lives changed in a meaningful way? Yes.
So, once again, the truth lies in the middle. I watched the show, and I have to say, it seems like it could do some good. Someone on the Internet criticized Dani for only giving away around $100,000. But then a response comment suggested that the critic put their own money where their mouth is…and I agree.
To the critics out there, I hear you. I understand you are jaded. Reality TV has done that to us. It’s the inevitable backlash of a “genre” that has probably overstayed its welcome by about five years.
But the point is this: Is life about criticism or assistance? Do we hope for change and then piss on it when it comes? I think there is a time to kick and a time to punch. I think there is a time to scream and a time to rage.
However, I’m not sure that time is when a woman gives real money to needy charities. If you feel that is the time, then please sit quietly for a few minutes and count your blessings. Then, imagine they are all taken away.
Yes, tomorrow I could wake up and find out that all of this was an ABC-sponsored ruse. I could discover that the world was deceived and that Dani Johnson was duped somehow and that these charities were made up. But that would in no way change the problems of criticism. There are those who criticize well beyond the borders of a show on the ABC Sunday lineup. Usually, when there is a line to do good, there is also a line, just as long, to condemn.
Look, folks. This ain’t a preachy blog. You don’t come here to be talked down to. I know. I hate when people do that to me. Just take a hard look at your judgments and biases. Does it really matter what someone’s story is? Or, is the important thing to provide comfort? Sure this can be a case-by-case decision for you when it comes to donating your hard-earned money…but it shouldn’t be a consideration when you are providing your hard-earned humanity.
Your opinion of Dani Johnson is your business. Your opinion of her genuineness is also yours alone. Your opinion of her products, services, and spirituality is also something for you personally to mull over. I don’t know much about it, so I can’t comment meaningfully upon it.
What is not yours to decide, however, is the measure of another person’s struggles or their search for help. If you refuse to provide guidance or assistance to someone in need, that is your choice. But don’t get in their way, and don’t get in the way of those trying to help. They may just be on their way to success.
With or without your help…or your criticism.