I decided to post this publicly because it's important.

I’m moving from my apartment—the same old musty place with the sloped floor and cheap carpeting that I’ve been in for the past eight years but that I’ve been thankful for because for the past eight years I’ve had my own apartment in New York City. I'm finally leaving it for a beautiful new apartment that feels like a wonderful gift.

Yesterday my landlady, who has been good to me for eight years, came over to take measurements. I’d figured she was preparing to gut the old place and rent it at market rate. Because, Greenpoint. As she measured the interior of the supply closet she nonchalantly mentioned, “My daughter has cancer so she might be moving back here.”

Turns out her daughter has stage-three lung cancer and will move back to the apartment to be with her mom. I wanted to hug her because she’s been so good to me through all of this struggle and hope and happiness and struggle and hope and happiness all over again during my journey over the years. And I’ve been a good tenant for her, too. Reliable, clean, friendly, on-time with the rent—even during times of hardship. In return she kept my rent as low as possible and took care of me.

“Don’t you worry,” she said when I asked her if there was anything I could do. And as she walked out the door, she smiled and told me, “You’ll definitely get your security deposit back, so don’t even worry about that.”

There are good people out there. Good landlords. Good teachers. Good employers. Good leaders. And there have been so many good people who I’ve connected with along the way, who have specifically been good to me. I owe them so much respect. 

And all of us are struggling. Nothing seems to be getting easier for anyone except for those who are ruthless, and those at the very, very top.

It’s time to start innovating the right future now. Hackathons are fun. Design Thinking is great. Apps are cool and some are even useful. Technology is mind-blowingly amazing. But if the focus isn’t on using it to create a positive, fair society that benefits more than just an elite group of people, I do worry.

My only consolation when I hear bits of news like I heard yesterday is that we’re all here for each other. Good people take care of each other. Good people stick with each other and help each other out. And good people never take advantage of each other. You don’t have to worry about whether or not you can trust good people. I'm writing this for all the good people in my past, present, and those I've yet to meet.

I’ll always respect and remember my landlady, only because of how good she was to me. I haven’t had a lease for the past seven years. She could have raised my rent as high as she wanted and gotten away with it. But she didn’t. A rare find in New York City.

AuthorAlyssa Yeager