Living Mutual: Songs and snapshots

By Allen Wastler
Allen Wastler is a former financial journalist with over 30-years of experience, including time at CNBC, CNN, and Knight-Ridder Newspapers.
Posted on Aug 21, 2017

How do you give back to those who saw you through the early years of life? In two recent cases, it’s as simple as a song and pictures (with a little touch of Photoshop).

The song is for a grandmother on her birthday.

“When I was eight years old she taught me how to sing 'Unforgettable' by Nat King Cole because it was her favorite song and I was to sing it with her for her birthday every year,” Ash Ruiz said in a news interview. “Hence a tradition began.”

Ruiz, a former member of the Puerto Rican band Menudo and still a touring entertainer, often had to do the rendition by phone or Skype. But for his grandmother’s 98th birthday this summer, he made it a point to deliver the serenade in person. (Watch video on ‘Inside Edition’s’ YouTube channel here)

“Every part of her life, from the way she spoke to the way she listened, demonstrated her love, strength, and compassion for her family,” Ruiz told People Magazine. “…I feel grateful that I got to be there to honor and celebrate her, and let her know over and over again how much she is loved and how much she is appreciated.”

For Chub Nokkaew it’s more about missed chances.

He is a photographer and travels often. But his mother, 85 years-old, is too infirm to travel.

“Whenever I travel abroad I'm sad because I would like my mum to be there too and experience the new place,” he told the British news service Daily Mail. “…When I was younger and my mother was strong and able to travel, I was busy working hard to build a stable life for us and help to support her…I wish I could go back in time and change things, so she could see all the beautiful places.”

So Nokkaew has taken to Photoshopping pictures of his mother into the various scenes – the Eiffel Tower, Swiss Alps, Venice canals – that he has photographed around the world.

When he shows the photos with his mother, who is reportedly beginning to lose mobility and is confined to a rural village in Thailand, she is moved to tears. The pictures have also become a hit on the Internet (see them here).

Sharing photos and a song is the way these young men are returning the support these women gave them. That’s the kind of mutual support MassMutual wants to recognize and celebrate.

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