Coronavirus act of kindness: Detroit sports writer surprises San Jose-based freelance sports journalist impacted by COVID-19 with money

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- Many people these days work as freelancers, so there often are no benefits. And no steady paychecks. A sports writer in Detroit who is working full-time is depositing small amounts of cash by surprise into the accounts of freelancers whose income has been cut off by the novel coronavirus.

Jon Root is a freelance journalist in San Jose. He was surprised to see money deposited that he wasn't expecting.

"I saw this Venmo come through, and I didn't recognize the name," he said. "I immediately thought it was a scam."

It was not. The money was deposited by veteran Associated Press sports journalist Larry Lage.

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As Root discovered, Lage created a fundraising campaign on Facebook to help fellow freelancers whose income was cut off when coronavirus put a hold on team sports. His first goal was to raise $2,000. When that was quickly achieved, he raised the goal to $20,000. The donations of $50 or $100 won't cover the rent. But their impact has even greater value.

"It instills hope in people," Lage said from his home in Michigan. "It also gives ways for other people to be inspired by this tough time to just think of others and not themselves."

That's true for Jon Root, who sees this warm-hearted act of kindness as something positive as society faces an unpredictable future.

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"While I have so much uncertainty in my life and so do many other people in other industries, I want to do good because Larry was good to me," Root said.

The fundraising campaign could inspire similar ones for other jobs affected by the pandemic. However, there are acts of kindness that don't require money.

"My roommate and I have been talking about that, how we can help out some of the elderly in the neighborhood," Root said. "Maybe make grocery store runs or something like that that can really make a difference, and Larry's inspired that," he said.

Larry Lage has helped 30 sports writers, so far. A few have turned down his gift. If they do, he asks for names of others who could use the money.

If you would like to donate, you can find the fundraising page on Facebook: Freelance sports journalists fundraiser.

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