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The domestic threat of the coronavirus had just closed Scranton Preparatory School and left other schools considering shuttering, too.

The Purple Pepper Deli offered to provide free lunches for students who would need it, should that come to pass.

It did.

After Sean Bingham read about it in the Scranton Times-Tribune, it tugged at his heart.

After a few days, he decided to give back. On the spur of the moment while at the North Keyser Avenue deli recently, he decided to spend some money — $200 in gift cards and at least $100 to try to help the deli offset its sandwich costs.

“I support all small businesses,” Bingham, a local contractor, said. “I am a small business myself.”

As the COVID-19 pandemic remakes every aspect of American life, the moment has come to be defined by generosity as much as it is by anxiety and fear.

“He saw that we were giving away food and he just kind of gave us $100 to make up for our costs in some way,” Purple Pepper owner Trevor Brown said.

The gift certificate purchases really caught Brown’s eye. He had never met Bingham and did not know his name, but noticed the truck the generous stranger climbed into. It had a business name: “Bingers Maintenance & More.”

He turned to the deli’s Facebook page and wrote: “Sorry bud if you get mad at me about sharing this, but you deserve some real shout-out.”

Bingham said he did not look for recognition. That’s not why he did it.

“It’s about random acts of kindness,” he said.

Editor’s note: As Northeast Pennsylvania deals with the coronavirus, residents continue to help their neighbors and serve others. Let us know about the good things happening in our communities by sending an email to the newsroom at or calling us at 570-836-2123.