The individuals who accidentally ignited the Carr fire, one of a dozen current wildfires in California, feel dread and remorse for their actions. But spurred by a social media posting explaining their situation, hundreds of letters of forgiveness and understanding have come their way.
Rachel Pilli posted on the Facebook page “Carr Fire Stories” the details of an unnamed elderly couple whom she discovered bear the blame for starting the fire in the first place. The two were traveling in their camper, which got a flat tire while they were driving. The resulting sparks from the metal rim on the asphalt made contact with dry brush, starting the fire.
Pilli, upon learning about the couple and how remorseful and guilty they felt over the matter, decided to ask for compassion from other Facebook users.
“We learned that [the] wife is blaming herself for the #CarrFire, because she asked [her husband] to take the trailer in the first place,” Pilli wrote in a post on the page. “She has been crying day and night on her couch.”
Pilli then asked for others to send her letters, on the couple’s behalf.
“Do you think we can show some grace and extend kindness (and even forgiveness) for the shame and despair that she is experiencing? Would you like to send a note that we will include in a card for them?” she wrote.
She said she received a tremendous outpouring of compassion from hundreds of letter writers.
Just two days after penning the post, people stepped up to write to the couple.
“As of now, I have 650 cards and messages in less than 48 hours. I didn’t think this would become a love avalanche,” she said.
Pilli explained the reason why she felt the need to have others write to the couple.
“It’s not anything that they did intentionally, it’s not anything that they need to be blamed for, accidents happen all the time,” she said.
This simple act of compassion toward a couple who unintentionally did something horrendous is a noble action indeed. Pilli and others would have been justified in displaying anger and resentment toward this couple. Instead, they decided to forgive the couple's transgressions, which were accidental, and to express their forgiveness with personal letters to them.
Banner/thumbnail image credit: Fred Greaves/Reuters