Answer with Kindness Raising the Barr Weekly Memo: Issue 591

Last evening, a young boy rang our doorbell around 8 pm. Through the app on my phone for the Ring camera, I could clearly see him standing outside with papers in his hand. Another solicitation? A kid at 8 pm? It seemed late for a school night. I was working in my office, and the dogs (we have two this week while our kids are away) were barking as if someone was trying to break in through the front, their volume loud enough to scare any intruder away. Since I couldn’t control their noise and the youth continued to ring the doorbell, I had no choice but to answer it. I paused my work, crated the guard dogs, and opened the door, cracking open the storm door to speak.

Here stood a soft-spoken kid who introduced himself as Jacob and handed me a paper to look at while he jumped into his spiel. I could see an adult man with a dog watching us from the tree lawn to ensure everything was okay. I figured this must be his dad.

Jacob wasted no time and got straight to the point of his visit. He was preparing to run a 5-mile marathon for a Cancer Support Center, The Gathering Place, which assists families and those suffering from cancer with services, emotional support, and education. I asked him how he was connected to this organization, and he shared that his friend had died recently from Leukemia—a young classmate from the neighborhood whom many knew or at least knew of. It was a quick and untimely death and a tragedy that reverberated throughout the community. I confirmed who he was speaking about by mentioning his name. I would have gladly handed over a donation at that point, but he continued. “My mom had a good friend who died of cancer and another friend who had cancer twice and is doing great. The Gathering Place helped her during her recovery.” I didn’t need to hear more as cancer has also touched so many of our loved ones, including my mother, relatives, and friends. As I handed him the money, his eyes widened, and he thanked me profusely. Was ours the first house he solicited or the first to offer him a donation?

His gratitude was evident by the profuse thank you he showered me with as he turned to his dad for acknowledgment. Clearly, I had made his day just by doing this small gesture of kindness. When I meet young people such as Jacob, who still want to do good in this crazy, topsy-turvy world we are living in, it renews my faith and hope for the future. If that is all it takes, imagine what we can accomplish together—all of us—with just a little bit of effort to make this world a better, kinder, and more peaceful place for everyone.

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