8 Reasons Why You Should Donate/Help The Devastation In Gatlinburg, TN, Caused By The Wildfires

8 Reasons Why You Should Donate/Help The Devastation In Gatlinburg, TN, Caused By The Wildfires

The wildfires in Gatlinburg, TN have caused such tragedy and devastation, that it is our duty to help in any way we can.

Hopefully you have all heard about the devastating tragedies going on around the Southeastern part of the United States, particularly Gatlinburg, TN, regarding the out of control wildfires. Here are a few reason why anyone not affected should find a way to help. At the bottom of this list I will provide a link to a website with a list of ways to donate, so please read on.

1. Gatlinburg, TN, is a beloved winter vacation spot for people from all around the world. This small, yet beautiful town is filled with family oriented attractions and amazing scenery. This one little town has enough Christmas spirit to compete with the big NYC. However, because of the wildfires, much of the beautiful scenery, attractions, and uniqueness in this town have been damaged greatly or are completely destroyed. We should all try to donate so that this beautiful place continues to be everyone's top pick for their annual winter vacations.

2. Because this town harbors so much Christmas spirit, the holidays are one of the biggest financial seasons for them. Think of all the business owners and employees who will suffer because their place of business has burned to the ground. We should all try to donate so we can bring back the businesses that have been lost or damaged.

3. Christmas is just around the corner, and because of these wildfires, countless families have lost their homes and everything they own, including their newly bought Christmas presents. Imagine the suffering these families are enduring through these next few months, through the holidays, which is supposed to be the best time of the year. Let's all try to contribute to making their Christmas a little more enjoyable in this time of tragedy.

4. For all you animal lovers out there, let's consider the wildlife lost in these fires. Thankfully, the Ripley's Aquarium was safe and no animals were harmed, but what about the animals with no place to go? The countless trees that burned to the ground served as habitats for dozens of animals. More than just people have lost lives and homes. Wildlife will be greatly affected by these wildfires and have no voice. Let's not forget our furry friends when we decide to help.

5. Christmas is the season of giving. What better cause to give to? These people, animals and town have lost everything. Let's help make their season merry and bright, like most of ours will be.

6. Most people are already online this time of year shopping, and most stay on their phones 24/7. That is how easy it is to donate. You can donate to the American Red Cross simply by getting online or sending a text message.

7. Think about if this happened to you. What would you hope for from other people? I am a true believer in "you get back what you put into this world." You put good into the world, you get good back out of the world.

8. We can't forget the people currently helping the situation. The firefighters, National Guard, police officers, EMT, volunteers, American Red Cross, etc., that have valiantly risked their lives and sacrificed their time and safety to help the cause. They deserve so much thanks, gratitude, and most importantly, help from those that can!

So that's just a few of the many reasons why you should help/donate to help Gatlinburg in this time of crisis. Please look below to see how you can donate/help, and please consider this. Oh, and thank God for all your many blessings, your safety, and your family, because this can happen to any of us, at any moment.


Cover Image Credit: The Tennessean News: Kim Hester

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Your Wait time At Theme Parks Is Not Unfair, You're Just Impatient

Your perceived wait time is always going to be longer than your actual wait time if you can't take a minute to focus on something other than yourself.


Toy Story Land at Disney's Hollywood Studios "unboxed" on June 30, 2018. My friend and I decided to brave the crowds on opening day. We got to the park around 7 AM only to find out that the park opened around 6 AM. Upon some more scrolling through multiple Disney Annual Passholder Facebook groups, we discovered that people were waiting outside the park as early as 1 AM.

We knew we'd be waiting in line for the bulk of the Toy Story Land unboxing day. There were four main lines in the new land: the line to enter the land; the line for Slinky Dog Dash, the new roller coaster; the line for Alien Spinning Saucers, the easier of the new rides in the land; Toy Story Mania, the (now old news) arcade-type ride; and the new quick-service restaurant, Woody's Lunchbox (complete with grilled cheese and "grown-up drinks").

Because we were so early, we did not have to wait in line to get into the land. We decided to ride Alien Spinning Saucers first. The posted wait time was 150 minutes, but my friend timed the line and we only waited for 50 minutes. Next, we tried to find the line for Slinky Dog Dash. After receiving conflicting answers, the runaround, and even an, "I don't know, good luck," from multiple Cast Members, we exited the land to find the beginning of the Slinky line. We were then told that there was only one line to enter the park that eventually broke off into the Slinky line. We were not about to wait to get back into the area we just left, so we got a Fastpass for Toy Story Mania that we didn't plan on using in order to be let into the land sooner. We still had to wait for our time, so we decided to get the exclusive Little Green Man alien popcorn bin—this took an entire hour. We then used our Fastpass to enter the land, found the Slinky line, and proceeded to wait for two and a half hours only for the ride to shut down due to rain. But we've come this far and rain was not about to stop us. We waited an hour, still in line and under a covered area, for the rain to stop. Then, we waited another hour and a half to get on the ride from there once it reopened (mainly because they prioritized people who missed their Fastpass time due to the rain). After that, we used the mobile order feature on the My Disney Experience app to skip part of the line at Woody's Lunchbox.

Did you know that there is actually a psychological science to waiting? In the hospitality industry, this science is the difference between "perceived wait" and "actual wait." A perceived wait is how long you feel like you are waiting, while the actual wait is, of course, the real and factual time you wait. There are eight things that affect the perceived wait time: unoccupied time feels longer than occupied time, pre-process waits feel longer than in-process waits, anxiety makes waits feel longer, uncertain waits are longer than certain waits, unexplained waits are longer than explained waits, unfair waits are longer than equitable waits, people will wait longer for more valuable service and solo waiting feels longer than group waiting.

Our perceived wait time for Alien Spinning Saucers was short because we expected it to be longer. Our wait for the popcorn seemed longer because it was unoccupied and unexplained. Our wait for the rain to stop so the ride could reopen seemed shorter because it was explained. Our wait between the ride reopening and getting on the coaster seemed longer because it felt unfair for Disney to let so many Fastpass holders through while more people waited through the rain. Our entire wait for Slinky Dog Dash seemed longer because we were not told the wait time in the beginning. Our wait for our food after placing a mobile order seemed shorter because it was an in-process wait. We also didn't mind wait long wait times for any of these experiences because they were new and we placed more value on them than other rides or restaurants at Disney. The people who arrived at 1 AM just added five hours to their perceived wait

Some non-theme park examples of this science of waiting in the hospitality industry would be waiting at a restaurant, movie theater, hotel, performance or even grocery store. When I went to see "Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom," the power went out in the theater right as we arrived. Not only did we have to wait for it to come back and for them to reset the projectors, I had to wait in a bit of anxiety because the power outage spooked me. It was only a 30-minute wait but felt so much longer. At the quick-service restaurant where I work, we track the time from when the guest places their order to the time they receive their food. Guests in the drive-thru will complain about 10 or more minute waits, when our screens tell us they have only been waiting four or five minutes. Their actual wait was the four or five minutes that we track because this is when they first request our service, but their perceived wait begins the moment they pull into the parking lot and join the line because this is when they begin interacting with our business. While in line, they are experiencing pre-process wait times; after placing the order, they experience in-process wait times.

Establishments in the hospitality industry do what they can to cut down on guests' wait times. For example, theme parks offer services like Disney's Fastpass or Universal's Express pass in order to cut down the time waiting in lines so guests have more time to buy food and merchandise. Stores like Target or Wal-Mart offer self-checkout to give guests that in-process wait time. Movie theaters allow you to check in and get tickets on a mobile app and some quick-service restaurants let you place mobile or online orders. So why do people still get so bent out of shape about being forced to wait?

On Toy Story Land unboxing day, I witnessed a woman make a small scene about being forced to wait to exit the new land. Cast Members were regulating the flow of traffic in and out of the land due to the large crowd and the line that was in place to enter the land. Those exiting the land needed to wait while those entering moved forward from the line. Looking from the outside of the situation as I was, this all makes sense. However, the woman I saw may have felt that her wait was unfair or unexplained. She switched between her hands on her hips and her arms crossed, communicated with her body language that she was not happy. Her face was in a nasty scowl at those entering the land and the Cast Members in the area. She kept shaking her head at those in her group and when allowed to proceed out of the land, I could tell she was making snide comments about the wait.

At work, we sometimes run a double drive-thru in which team members with iPads will take orders outside and a sequencer will direct cars so that they stay in the correct order moving toward the window. In my experience as the sequencer, I will inform the drivers which car to follow, they will acknowledge me and then still proceed to dart in front of other cars just so they make it to the window maybe a whole minute sooner. Not only is this rude, but it puts this car and the cars around them at risk of receiving the wrong food because they are now out of order. We catch these instances more often than not, but it still adds stress and makes the other guests upset. Perhaps these guests feel like their wait is also unfair or unexplained, but if they look at the situation from the outside or from the restaurant's perspective, they would understand why they need to follow the blue Toyota.

The truth of the matter is that your perceived wait time is always going to be longer than your actual wait time if you can't take a minute to focus on something other than yourself. We all want instant gratification, I get it. But in reality, we have to wait for some things. It takes time to prepare a meal. It takes time to experience a ride at a theme park that everyone else wants to go on. It takes time to ring up groceries. It takes patience to live in this world.

So next time you find yourself waiting, take a minute to remember the difference between perceived and actual wait times. Think about the eight aspects of waiting that affect your perceived wait. Do what you can to realize why you are waiting or keep yourself occupied in this wait. Don't be impatient. That's no way to live your life.

Cover Image Credit:

Aranxa Esteve

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the best vacation to go on while you're still young

My experience in the most beautiful country I have ever been to: Greece.


When I was sixteen, me and my family decided to go on a vacation to Greece during our summer vacation. We went with another family that had relatives living in Greece. I always believe going on vacation with another family is very healthy - or else you will get sick of your family.

We first flew from Boston to Athens and then spent two days in the city. We had been warned that since Greece's economy was not doing great, that Athens was going to be kind of a mess. However, we completely disagreed. The city is beautiful and there are lots of things to do. The streets are white marble and the people are very friendly. We went to the Acropolis (because you can't go to Athens and not go) and it was amazing to see how much history the city had. It was an unbelievable city.

After Athens, we went to the island of Santorini. We stayed in the part of the island called Oia, which was known for having amazing sunsets. Santorini is just how the pictures look, beautiful white houses with blue roofs on a hill down to the beautiful blue water. We found beaches and rocks to go cliff jumping off. We even rode donkeys upstairs to get back to the town where our houses were that we rented. That was a little scary, however, as the donkey's hooves slipped on the marble stairs as they carried you up. We watched the famous sunset - well as much as we could because it was filled with tourists with their selfie sticks blocking some of the views.

The next island we traveled to was Zakynthos. It is not one of Greece's most popular islands, but our friend's family lived there so we decided to adventure there. Zakynthos is not a touristy island, it is filled with Greeks that call the island home. The water on this island was the warmest I had ever been in, it was warmer than the air which was already 90 something degrees each day. We got to interact with people that had lived on the island and went to a rowdy dinner with dancing and breaking plates. The island was a perfect way to experience the culture of the Greek people.

Greece is definitely the perfect vacation while you are still young because it is a very active destination with tons of things to do. (I also loved being a 16-year-old and being served drinks without any problem.) I would definitely recommend the beautiful country of Greece to anyone looking for their next destination.

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