Grantville resident Lindsay Mitchell poses within her 5 1/2-foot-tall sign to support essential workers and families during the coronavirus pandemic.
Grantville resident Lindsay Mitchell poses within her 5 1/2-foot-tall sign across from Kaiser Zion hospital to support essential workers and families during the coronavirus pandemic. Photo by Chris Stone

“It’s better to light one candle than to curse the darkness,” a proverb says, and some San Diego residents are taking that sentiment to heart.

Lindsay Mitchell lives with her husband next to Kaiser Permanente Zion Medical Center in the Grantville area, and she’s resurrected a sign from her Christmas display.

“Joy” it simply says.

And that’s just what passers-by say they receive from the 5 1/2-foot-tall front-yard marker.

“I see people, especially in the evening, they walk around,” Mitchell said Friday. “But I’ll hear people all throughout the day. They’ll stop and take pictures, and it’s awesome. I love that it’s doing something for the community.”

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And Mitchell believes she’s in the right place at the right time for the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Living where I live — across the street from a hospital in such a busy intersection — it was just my duty … to put it out for people,” said the 34-year-old grocery store worker.

“We are, right now, in global solidarity, and it’s one of the most remarkable things we’ll ever witness in our lives,” she said. “I just wanted to give [Zion hospital staff] a thank-you note. I’m sure they’re just exhausted.”

Mitchell calls the times “sad but beautiful at the same time, for the way the people are coming together.”

On her local Nextdoor message board, the neighborhood website and app, one woman posted that he husband was at Kaiser hospital for four days.

“I loved seeing that JOY sign every time I headed home,” the woman wrote, adding that her husband had returned home and was now fine.

Another post said: “It’s such a warm thing to do right now.”

In addition, Mitchell chalked messages.

“We are all in this together,” she wrote on the Crawford Street sidewalk. She wrote a multi-colored thank-you note to essential workers: health care, grocery, food-service and truck drivers.

“It’s the least I could do to bring the hospital a smile,” Mitchell said. “How could I not?”

How long will the metal-frame sign with glitter mesh be up?

“I have no idea,” she began. “I’ll probably keep it up for as long as we’re all in this … mess.”

Elsewhere, outdoor lights illuminate hope from residents and businesses.

Some are enhancing their homes with lights from the holidays. Apartment complex balconies and some homes are bathed in Christmas lights.

And the hotel industry is showing its love and solidarity with giant displays of hearts and the word love through patterns made of selective rooms with lamps.

San Diego downtown hotels and a Harbor Island establishment have joined the spirit.

“Every hotel is going through a tough time, and we wanted to spread a smile,” said Todd Capizzo, general manager at Embassy Suites on Pacific Highway.

“I’m amazed with what hotels are doing across the United States,” he said of support for the hospitality industry.”

Indeed, huge heart displays are appearing on hotels in cities across the country, including Phoenix, San Francisco, Atlanta and Las Vegas. (The Hilton, Hyatt, Marriott, Sheraton and Radisson hotel chains are taking part.) Hearts are reported in Mexico, Sweden, Norway and India.

In San Diego, hotels shining include the Embassy Suites by Hilton San Diego Bay, the Manchester Grand Hyatt San Diego, the Marriott Marquis San Diego Marina, the Hilton Bayfront, the Westin San Diego Gaslamp Quarter, the Omni San Diego, the InterContinental San Diego and the Sheraton San Diego Hotel & Marina.

The Hyatt started the trend in San Diego, Capizzo said, and his location followed with a dusk-to-dawn display.

A industry Facebook page said: “While this time continues to be unprecedented … it has helped us to know that we as a family are in this together. It is truly times like these that prove that we are greater than the sum of our parts, and that we’re a different kind of strong. We’re hospitality strong.”

How long will San Diego Embassy Suites show its heart?

Said Capizzo: “Until the world get a little brighter.”