Our prompt for today is: Tell us about one time that you benefited from the kindness of strangers.
Oy, I benefit from the kindness of strangers every day! The driver who lets me back my car out of my driveway in morning traffic, the helpful checker at the grocery store who gives me insider advice, the passer-by who moves my newspaper off of the wet grass in the mornings… And those are just kind strangers yesterday!
In this past year, there are several instances of completely random kindness that knocked the wind out of me. One of them happened last fall. Reddit had a “back to school” online gift swap for teachers, and my husband urged me to add my name to the list. The form asked for details about my classroom and students, and what we needed. So, I detailed our little world: Kindergarten-third grade, moderate-severe special day class… We had -and still have- many kiddos with severe health impairments… seizures, shunts, cerebral palsy, blindness, deaf-blindness, and muscular dystrophy, to name a few. As tragic as this all sounds, my classroom is chock-full of happy vibes and triumphs of the human spirit. Awesome things happen here!
ANYWAYS. I wrote my little piece on Reddit, and promptly forgot all about it. Several months later, I received a box. I hadn’t ordered anything online, so I opened it with some hesitancy. I found kazoos, easy-to-grip tambourines and drums, jumbo crayons (easier for little hands to hold!), and a variety of other noisy, delightful toys and irresistible doodads. I was still a little confused, until I found a little note wedged in between a coloring book and a xylophone. My mysterious benefactor was a nurse in a pediatric intensive care unit in central California. She explained that many of her patients have the same medical issues that my students have, so she thought that maybe my students would enjoy the same types of toys that her patients like. That’s it. I. was. floored. A completely random stranger, who has never met me and never will, read my ramblings online, connected with my description of my students, went out and bought things she imagined they would like, packaged them up, and sent them to me. THAT’S INSANE. Obviously, I cried, called my mom, and texted everybody I knew.
Of course, my kiddos loved the gifts. We still play our instruments every day during circle time, and I hope that our benefactor can feel the joy and gratitude radiating from my classroom.