For the mom who brought her teenage son and his friends to the Arapahoe Crossing theater in Aurora to hand out tickets in memory of their friends who were killed in the shootings on July 20, this was a chance to respond positively to fear and grief. She wept as she told the story of the friends who were shot and the daughter who barely missed going to that same theater herself.
For the woman who had been afraid to go back to the movies after hearing about the shootings, it was the gentle push required to face her fears while strangers encouraged her onward.
For the father with six boys whose smile lit up the room when he heard that they were all going to the movies for free, this was a blessing of unexpected kindness.
For the family who responded cynically at first to the offer of a free ticket, this was a glimpse of something they'd never seen before:
"Do you guys work for the movie theater?"
"Well, who's paying for the tickets?"
"What are you, rich?"
"Nope. A bunch of us wanted to show that there are more good people in the world than bad."
A huge smile. "That's amazing!"
For the 60+ volunteers who showed up, some just showing up at the theaters without even asking beforehand, it was a chance to join together with strangers to bless other strangers, to show love in the face of hate and bravery in the face of violence.
For more than 1300 people who received the gift of a movie today, it was a chance for the rest of their community to reach out and show them they were loved. Hopefully, it inspired them to pass that love along to others when they left the theater, walking out of the darkness and into the light.