Thomas Gionis was born on Long Island. He came from a tough home and was raised by his grandparents who he considers to be his role models and rocks. They helped instill strong faith, values, and morals in him and they always taught Tom to respect his fellow man. Today Tom lives in Weston, Ct and still applies everything he learned growing up from his grandparents. His greatest joy in life is helping others in their time of need.
What is your hobby?
My greatest hobby is helping people. I live life paying it forward to others.
How did you get started with this hobby? What inspired you?
My grandparents inspired me to do good and help others. I was maybe 18 at the time and I saw this mom and her son who was around 8 years old, he reminded me a lot of myself at that age. They were standing by a soda machine and he was begging her for one but she didn’t have a quarter (that’s how much it was back then) to put in the machine. He was crying and I could tell by the look on her face that she was disappointed but she just didn’t have it. I reached in my pocket, pulled out a quarter and bought the kid a soda. I didn’t realize it at the time but what started as a simple good deed changed my life forever.
Tell us what you love about it.
I love the feeling I get when I help people. It is the best way that I know for anyone to feel good or self-love. It makes one feel like they contributed to something, made a difference in some way.
Are there any groups you’re a part of or events that you attend related to your hobby?
No, this is all me. I think that helping out, donating to a cause, dropping food off to a food bank, donating clothes are all wonderful things that people can do. However, for me, this is more personal and I love being able to see how I am helping.
Have you had to invest in equipment and if so, please share some of the things you’ve bought.
Not for myself, no. I have bought cars for people in need of one, groceries for those who can’t afford it. Some of them don’t even know where these things came from. Keep in mind, I do not need to know these people very well all I need to know is that they are in need.
How has this changed your life?
I can’t really describe how it has changed my life except to say that it has made me feel like there is no better deed that I can do than this. Helping people that need help and that who are so grateful is euphoric. I have had people ask me what I wanted in return and when I tell them nothing I am just there to help, sometimes they don’t believe me. I may never see these people again but knowing that I was there to help in some way no matter how big or small, that’s what it is all about.
What advice do you have for others starting out with this hobby?
This is something you have to really want to do, not something you do for the sake of saying you did good. If you are looking to do this for a pat on the back you are going about it all wrong. Remember, for me, it started with a soda. It doesn’t have to be big but the feeling you get from it will be.
Are there any other hobbies you have?
I love to run. I have been an avid runner since the age of 18. About 5 years ago I had to stop because of my knee. I am supposed to get a knee replacement which I am fighting against. I now walk about 2 hours a day.