A California Visitor Thanks Detroiters and Inspires More Warm Words from Newcomers

January 13, 2019, 5:02 PM

Sure, we've read this type of message before and likely will again. But each "fan mail" salute like one at Reddit this weekend comes from someone discovering the city for the first time and taking time to gush about it.

For others who agree that's still an echo worth hearing four years past bankruptcy, here's most of what "AlkarinValkari" says in a thank-you note that earns more than 330 "upvotes" and nearly 60 comments since Saturday. It's lightly edited for style:

Living in San Diego the last eight years, my fiancee and I had to move into her parents' house to make ends meet -- even when we are both working full-time jobs. I have family in Metro Detroit and always remember the area fondly, and we have begun discussing moving to the area in a few years once we finish up schooling.

Considering my fiancee is born and raised in San Diego, I wanted to show her Detroit during the winter to see if she can even handle the chilling Midwest or some of the dilapidated neighborhoods hit hard by the recession.

Right off the plane, it was like we were in another world. There is an immediate difference in hospitality here in the Midwest. I had so many small and friendly conversations with people before even leaving the airport.

And we never stopped enjoying the people we were around during our entire trip. Detroiters are incredibly friendly and socialable -- much unlike here in SoCal, where you get the vibe everyone is either too busy or too important for you.

We stayed at an airbnb downtown and it was honestly amazing. The location was just off Woodward and we had tons of things to do even within the block.

Downtown looked incredibly clean, and we actually saw lots of city workers actively cleaning up the streets. The very rare homeless person wasn't nearly as aggressive as we see back home. We had one guy simply ask us for a $2 coffee, which we obliged. . . .

The post upholds this slogan, painted on the side of Whole Foods Market and created in 1979 by Emily Gail, a former downtown merchant who says nice things now in Hawaii.

Simply walking around downtown, visiting the Detroit Institute of Arts and any other tourist attractions we could find, it's just obvious how much this city is dripping with culture and history. It was hard for me to enjoy everything we were doing 'cause I was so busy staring at the beautiful architecture here!

On top of the amazing time we had, it was also surprisingly cheap. We went to one of the fanciest restaurants we could find in downtown and went all-out, and our bill was still under $100. . . .

Just want to thank Detroit for being an awesome time and for every single person we met for being so genuine and friendly. Really made our experience great, and only increased my love for the city more.

Hopefully you'll see us around again soon -- but as residents and not just tourists.

Twitter photo: Ron Fournier

Now there's an unsolicited testimonial likely to make the Visit Detroit crew proud.

But wait, there's more. He starts a r/Detroit version of the wave, inspiring fresh arrivals to stand up and cheer too. 

♦ "Glad another out-of-stater had a good time. I moved to the area from Austin a couple years ago, and my experience has been fantastic thus far. Like anywhere, it's what you make of it. Luckily, Detroit has great people, a booming food and arts scene, and the summers make the winter worth it. Hope to see you as part of the region's 'comeback'!"

♦ "Great to hear. Had similar experiences moving here from Seattle. Been here since 2014 and still get the same feeling you did with respect to hospitality. People are just friendly and more social, and makes day-to-day (and winter doldrums) more tolerable."

♦ "My partner and I just made the move from Los Angeles a couple months ago. Do it as soon as possible. The city is nice. . . . People are far friendlier here. Hardly no traffic. And the cost of living. . . . Won't say this place is perfect, but I have no regrets and would recommend it."

♦ "I moved here 8 months ago from Albuquerque. When I told people I was moving here, all they talked about was the crime and how they thought it was a bad decision. But I love Detroit.
"Albuquerque has homeless people and drug addicts on every corner and the crime is way more in-your-face. I feel so much safer here. I love the atmosphere and the people. Also the schools are amazing and there are so many community programs for kids. I feel my teenage son got away from all the bad influence that was in his life. That alone makes it all worth it.
"I'm so glad I moved here and didn't listen to all the negative comments. I'm still waiting for the snow, though!"

♦ "I've been here for 4 winters now, and this [mild weather so far] has been my experience with 3 of the 4 winters. Last winter was a real winter with snow and cold, but I'm starting to get the impression that the average Detroit winter is pretty mild compared to what I'm accustomed to (Mountain West), while having the occasional extreme winter sprinkled in. . . . Parts of Michigan do have harsh winters, but Detroit does not."

-- Alan Stamm

Read more:  Reddit Detroit

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