I first learned about Betsy through an Instagram post.
I decided to look her up and follow her. Upon looking at her account, I noticed all of the love and support she received from her followers and the positive messages she shared.
Not expecting much to come of it, I sent her a message asking about an interview. To my surprise, she answered very quickly and agreed to speak with me over Skype since she lives across the country. I’m so glad she gave me a chance to meet the person I had only known through social media.
Betsy grew up with her mother, a single parent, and grandmother in a small town in Iowa. They moved frequently and at one point she even moved in with her aunt and uncle in Pennsylvania.
As she got older, she worked in many jobs that allowed her to help others such as Soroptomist International, an organization that works to improve the lives of women and girls, and a company that helps families with fertility issues through surrogates and egg donors. She also worked in a nonprofit organization in Indiana called Aidserve where she worked with clients in the HIV and AIDS community.
“The stigma was ridiculous.”
She was extremely saddened by the poor treatment of those with the disease.
“They’d get home and they’d start putting the pills in their little counter and they were missing medications and the pharmacy is like, ‘Well they need to count them when they’re here in the pharmacy.’ And I’m like, ‘When they have hundreds of pills, not only are people gonna be staring at them, they don’t really have time to do that.’ And the pills are really expensive so when they’re short ten pills or something that’s a lot of money that the pharmacy’s getting paid for.”
Patients were treated carelessly in places that are supposed to be reliable. This was dangerous for the clients because they can become immune to the medication if it’s not taken properly.
Currently, her husband is an animator working in virtual reality. She and her husband go to many networking events and are very active in the art community. They even picketed down the street from the Oscars due to the little recognition received by artists who worked on Life of Pi.
Betsy has done many extraordinary things in her life to impact the lives of others, but it’s one of the more ordinary things she’s done that has gotten her the most recognition. She was shocked that she got so much attention from one small good deed.
“I just think I’m lucky that I got recognized but there’s so many people out there that do good deeds and don’t get recognized.”
She says that she found the wallet at the post office when she was running a work errand. She Googled the girl whose ID was in the wallet (she wasn’t hard to find because she’s a model) and reached out to her so they could meet in a safe location. A few months later, she was watching TV when her phone started getting hundreds of notifications. She received a message from Salem Mitchell, the model, saying that she shared the story and it was getting a lot of attention. Betsy quickly gained over twenty thousand Instagram followers.
“I’m still learning too, this is a new experience for me. I’m familiar with computers and everything like that; Instagram is a little bit different. I went from seventy-five followers to now I have over twenty-two thousand followers.” (She now has over twenty-four thousand)
Though she’s just posting on social media, she knows that behind every one of her followers is a real person. It’s important to her to use her platform to spread kind, uplifting messages.
“I’ve had quite a few people reach out to me telling me that they’re having a tough time and they started seeing my posts and it was making them feel better, so that kind of lifts me. I told someone at work ‘I can’t be in a bad mood. I can’t.’ I feel like I’m floating around on a cloud and I think I’m being Punk’d, honestly.”
She does her best to connect on a personal level with all of her followers.
“I try to respond to every comment, every message that I get.”
She now has followers from around the world. If they message her in another language, she uses Google Translate to reply.
Dozens of people have reached out to asking for her help in sharing their stories. She posts as many things as she can to Instagram and shares many things on Facebook.
“People don’t have to follow me. I have a public page, they can look at my page and see if it makes them feel good to follow me. It’d be nice to have more followers, because if I had more followers then companies can come to me and then I might be able to do more as far as helping other people.”
I asked about her ability to maintain such a positive outlook.
“I try to be positive all the time… but, I mean, I catch myself sometimes like when someone cuts me off in traffic… I just try to think of what the other person’s going through before I react. And I try to breathe before I react.”
She believes that attitude has a strong correlation to outcome.
“Try to be positive. Things can get really bad but they can be really good. I think your attitude has a lot to do with how things happen. I think if you are always looking in the rearview mirror and you’re not looking forward, you’re not going to get anywhere.”
One thing she wishes she could change about the world is the prejudice and hatred some people have for others
“I would really like to change the way people bully other people. I got bullied when I was young, I got bullied sometimes in high school, I saw people get bullied. I see it going on in the world now. And it infuriates me… I’ll never condone that and I always will stick up for people if I see it happening.”
She wishes people could let go of their fear of those who are different.
“We were at a restaurant one night and there was a lady with a small child and there was a homeless man in there. And he was smiling and making googly eyes and the little kid was just having such a good time and the mom just yanked him away… What was wrong with that? That child is seeing that person as a person… Obviously, you have to be protective of yourself but you also have to be willing to be open as well.”
She believes this experience has changed her as a person.
“I think this experience changed me. I think I was already a positive person but I think it really kind of opened something up.”
She’s grateful for the experiences she’s had and proud of the person she’s become.
“I don’t think I would change anything, honestly, because I think all the things that I’ve experienced have made me the person that I am today.”
I asked if she had any final advice for her readers:
“Be kind to others. And try to take care of the planet.”
Remember her advice next time somebody cuts you off in traffic or acts with hatred. If we could all try to be a little bit more like Betsy, the world would be a much more compassionate place.