The first thing I noticed about Daniel Butner was his
distinctive beard. If you ever met him, even if you didn’t know his name, you
knew that beard.

A few days before our restaurants had to
close their dining rooms due to COVID-19, I stopped by Carrabba’s on Stratford
Rd. for dinner. Daniel is the proprietor and I wanted to support his business during this tough time. As I entered a stranger approached with a gleam in his eye that I recognized but I couldn’t place the face. It took a moment, but I figured out that it was Daniel standing before me with a clean-shaven face.

 “What happened to your beard?” I stammered, still shocked by what I was seeing. Just as cool as a creek rock Daniel says “I can’t have a beard and wear a face mask properly. I want to deliver food to people in need and I need to keep them safe.” I get teary remembering that moment, and the sacrifice he made to help others. He didn’t act like it was such a big deal, but I have to think it would take a certain kind of person to do that.

 Why am I making such a big deal about this? This man shaved off a significant part of his persona and identity so that he could give people free food. Daniel is the owner/operator of Carrabba’s. He could have delegated to employees.  He could have decided to let some other restaurant take on the cost of giving away food, but that’s not his style. Daniel’s leadership includes a heaping helping of generosity. That’s his real persona and identity.

I’ve had misty eyes many times in the past month when I’ve witnessed ordinary people doing extraordinary things. Nurses and healthcare workers that bravely go into work when they cannot be assured of their safety. People stepping into leadership roles to raise money for people out of work, our members producing thousands of units of PPE for healthcare workers in the Triad and the Triangle areas. It’s not just what they are doing that I find so extraordinary; it’s the feeling behind the action. They lead with compassion. They don’t sit idle and focus on the fear of the troubles around them. They show up with a sense of gratitude and generosity. They choose to focus on doing something positive.

I feel so lucky that I spend nearly every day of my life with the type of people I’m describing. Daniel is one of many Mixxer members that have been showing up to simply do what they do but doing it in a way that is generous and compassionate. Elaine, our Community Events Manager, has been working tirelessly to coordinate our members to create and deliver PPE for hospitals from Winston-Salem to Raleigh/Durham. Our members, working from home, are creating teams to design and build prototypes for PPE and possible treatment options for the virus. Some of our members even approached our management team and volunteered to create a fundraising team to get our organization through this financially straining time.

As the Founder and the Executive Director of Mixxer, I often get credit for a lot of the amazing work our members do in the community. I want to point out that I’m simply trying to follow the lead of others and lead with compassion and show up with a sense of gratitude and generosity. I hope you’ll have the opportunity to do something extraordinary. It could be something as simple as being there for a friend struggling to cope or donating to Mixxer or one of the many nonprofit organizations working through the pandemic without the revenue they planned to be there so they can help people in need, you don’t have to make a great sacrifice to something meaningful.

I hope you have an opportunity to do something extraordinary. It’s easier than ever.

We would appreciate a small financial contribution to support the important work that Mixxer does so that we can continue to be there when you need us. Donate Here.

If you want to learn more about the fantastic things our members have been doing to fight back against the pandemic, Read More.