PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A Montgomery County woman is holding a “marathon,” no running required, just a stack of cards and a smile. Eyewitness News reporter Ukee Washington joined her to see how one little card with two short words lifts so many spirits.
Cheryl Rice of Glenside hand-delivers her message in Rittenhouse Square, giving strangers little cards with only two words: You Matter.
“The message is as pure and simple and powerful as possible,” Rice said.
Washington joined her in telling people “we want to tell you about a very special message,” and he got to see the immediate results.
One woman exclaimed, “The society as a whole has become I, I, I…”
“Exactly!” Rice said. “Give me five!”
“…so it was really nice,” the woman said.
Another woman said, “It’s crazy that you guys are saying this, because I just lost my mom, and it’s coming up on a year.”
One artist even used his card as a canvas to draw a thank-you.
It all started a few years ago. Rice says a friend gave her a You Matter card. It stuck with her. Then Rice overheard a woman tell a cashier she was struggling to pay bills.
“And I gave her a You Matter card, and she started to cry, and she asked for a hug,” Rice recalled. “And we hugged, and then I went back to my car, and I started to cry.”
Now, Rice prints and distributes cards from her home so other people can spread the love. In November, she is holding the You Matter Marathon.
“The You Matter Marathon is an opportunity for people to give out one You Matter card a day during the month of November,” she said.
Sign up on the website, and Rice will send you 30 cards free. Last year, she estimates nearly half a million cards were handed out by over 14,000 people in all 50 states and in 59 countries.
“The goal is to give out one million cards in the month of November,” Rice said.
“See? It was meant,” a woman said as she held the card and smiled. “It was meant to be.”
“You need a hug, girl!” Washington said.
Rice thinks the City of Brotherly Love and sisterly affection is up to the challenge.
And if you’re shy? Rice says sometimes she even leaves cards behind for strangers to find.
You can sign up through her website.