“Oh Tony, I don’t want to go to school anymore. I can’t go. I won’t go.” moaned the young girl walking with her cousin down the dusty dirt road leading to their school.
Tony asked why and the girl explained, “It’s these shoes and socks Grandma makes me wear. The kids all make fun of me. All of the other girls have the shiny Mary Janes and the pretty, white anklet socks. Grandma says I have to wear boy shoes and the thick cotton socks because they hold up better.”
Tony listened with his head bent down as his cousin went on with her laments about her terrible shoes and socks. When she was done he spoke up with, “I’ll buy you those Mary Janes and some anklets.”
The girl’s mouth turned up at the corners and her eyes lit up momentarily until the realization that Grandma would never allow it hit her. Grandma would certainly make her return them. She expressed this to Tony who instantly said, “Well, Grandma doesn’t have to know. We will keep them under the bridge. Everyday on your way to school you can just change out of your old shoes and socks, put on the new ones for school and then exchange them again at the end of the day.
So that is what they did. Tony bought his cousin those beautiful shoes and anklets. Everyday on their way to school they would stop under the bridge and retrieve them so the girl could put them on. After school they would stop once more at the bridge so the girl could find her old shoes in their hiding place and replace them on her feet. The Grandma was none the wiser.
If you think that those small acts of kindness that you do for others don’t mean anything; you are wrong. They have the potential to impact someone’s life greatly. You may not get a thank you card. You may not see the benefits with your own eyes. You may never give a second thought about that small kindness that you did. More than likely though; you made a difference. Maybe the girl I mentioned above would have quit school. Maybe her self-esteem would have been shattered. Maybe it wouldn’t have affected her at all. I don’t know.
What I do know is that girl walked into school from that day forward with her head held high. She went on to live a very long life with a husband and 8 children. That girl is now 73 and she told me this story about those shoes. She is grateful for it to this day. She said Tony has always held a special place in her heart. That girl is my mother-in-law.