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Random Acts of Kindness: The Boy Who Bought Me Lunch

Joined: 12/29/2014
Posts: 1
Teens of all shapes and sizes poured into the cafeteria. Some of them towered above the crowd, others merely faded beneath the chaos… Yet one thing connected them all. They were all hungry, and ready for a midday meal.

I was no exception. After laboring through an hour of intensive Latin, I could practically hear my stomach growling as I conjugated the verb “to be” in the pluperfect tense. When the lunch bell rang, I practically sprinted from my classroom into the lunch line. Around ten minutes later, I slid in front of the cash register holding a red tray teeming with food.

“Three dollars,” the lunch lady told me. I casually reached my hand into a compartment in my backpack… and felt nothing. It was empty. Why was it empty? I stuffed my fingers in again. Still nothing. I was almost certain I had stashed three bills in the front zipper of my backpack just yesterday night. Or was it the night before? I laid my tray on the counter and slid my backpack to the floor, zipping and unzipping as I went. As I realized the money wasn’t there, I could feel the dread washing over me.

In my panicked state, I didn’t realize that another person had stepped up to the cash register. When I finally looked up to inform the lunch lady of my situation, I saw, in the corner of my eye, a boy walk swiftly past, carrying a tray of his own. I paid him no attention, and I opened my mouth to speak.

“I’m sorry, I-”

“Honey, he paid for your lunch. You’re good,” the lunch lady interrupted. She waved vaguely in the direction the boy behind me had gone, and she faced the next person in line and began speaking.

I gawked in the direction she pointed, yet I could not find the boy I had seen so little of. I hadn’t had the chance to thank him. He was nameless, faceless to me. He didn’t owe me anything. He didn’t even know me. But he paid for my lunch, just like that. Although it was only a measly three dollars, I couldn’t remember anyone doing something so nice for me.

A month later, I went running outside. When sweat was streaming down my face and I couldn’t go any further, I headed back to my apartment complex. When I stepped into the main lobby, I saw an elderly woman struggling with heavy grocery bags.

She wasn’t anything remarkable. On a typical day, I wouldn’t have noticed her at all. I would have sprinted up the steps, popped into my apartment, and surrendered myself to the comforts of a shower. But today… today was different. Today I thought of the nameless, faceless boy I didn’t know who had bought me lunch. Today I would chose to see the elderly lady.

“Excuse me, ma’am, do you need help?”

I will never forget her smile as I rushed forward to lend her a hand.
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Comment by thiegsr

Joined: 11/6/2008
Posts: 702
On behalf of the entire editorial board, I would like to congratulate you for your Random Acts of Kindness essay being chosen as 1 of the 10 essays in the running for 1st place for our December 2014 teen writing competition. Be proud of your accomplishment. We had almost 200 essays submitted for December’s contest.

We are in the process of selecting our top three winners, and naming the 1st place winner from the narrowed field.

We will post all winning essay results by January 31st. You can check this page for the results after January 31st:

Thanks for adding your voice to our mission “Changing the World . . . One Story at a Time” and feel free to share your accomplishment.

Rebecca Thiegs Co-Founder and Education Consultant
Posted: Monday, January 12, 2015 5:41:11 PM
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Comment by thiegsr

Joined: 11/6/2008
Posts: 702
On behalf of the entire editorial board, I would like to congratulate you for your Random Acts of Kindness essay being selected as our first place Teen Essay for December 2014.

To view all the results of our December 2014 contest, please check our winners page on or after January 31st:

We will be contacting you via your registration email with more information and prize details.

Thanks for adding your voice to our mission “Changing the World . . . One Story at a Time” and feel free to share your accomplishment with the world.

Rebecca Thiegs Co-Founder and Education Consultant
Posted: Wednesday, January 21, 2015 7:44:06 PM
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