Tuesday, November 8, 2011

The Kindness of Strangers

I'm a book lover. I spend WAY too much money on books. The majority of the books I buy are for use in my classroom. I have a collection of thousands of children's books at school. I buy inexpensive books at garage sales and library sales, but I also shop the bookstores for newly released books. I love buying picture books we can use as mentor texts during Writer's Workshop. Last week, I was on the lookout for easy readers for my kindergarteners.

I stopped by Barnes and Noble and went straight to the children's section. I was down on my knees looking through some easy readers, when an older gentleman came up. He saw my pile of easy readers and said, "Oh, this is the same series I was just looking for. I'm buying some books for my grand daughter. " Well, I'm kind of chatty. I started telling him about my kindergarten students and showed him the books I had found.  As I was walking away, he asked if I buy the books for my classroom with my own money.  I told him that I did, but that it is something I really enjoy being able to provide for my students. 

At that very moment, he took out his wallet and handed me a twenty dollar bill.

 He told me that he'd like to buy the books for my students.  His wife came around the corner and chimed in, telling me that their son is a teacher and they know how much money we spend out of our own pockets for the good of our children. 

I was stunned.  Strangers don't do this kind of thing.  Sometimes parents will donate books to our classroom, but this was a couple I had never seen before and would probably never see again.

I told my kindergarten students, my girl scout troop, and my own children about the kindness of the couple in the bookstore.  I wish I had asked their names or gotten an address so I could send a thank you note. The only way I came up with to thank them, was sending a thank you to the Seattle Times.  Every Sunday, The Times runs a Rants and Raves section.  I looked up who to send this to and sent an email, thanking the kind couple in the bookstore.

I can't tell you how excited I was to see my message of thanks in last Sunday's paper.  I hope they read the newspaper on the weekend and saw my note.  Their kindness brightened my day beyond words.

Since then, I've been on the lookout for ways I can help others, in the same way they helped me.  One act of kindness leads to another.
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  1. Wow, what an amazing story! That just doesn't happen. That just made my day! Thank you for sharing!
    Heidi Butkus

  2. Oh Becca!! I LOVE stories like that! That the couple was so generous AND that your words of appreciation made it into the paper! YAY!!! Thanks for sharing! Wendy Smith (owens mom)