From Chicken Soup for the Child's Soul

To Give Love

A kind and compassionate act is often its own reward.

William Bennett

When I was a child, our house was next door to the Schonfield Home. It was a place where people who got too old to take care of themselves lived. I was a regular visitor and volunteer there. I enjoyed spending time with the wonderful, caring staff and the residents who always seemed happy to see me.

One older lady named Mrs. Kurtz always seemed to be sad. I had never seen her smile or laugh like the other residents. No one ever came to visit her, or sent her cards or flowers. My parents explained to us that we must be extra nice to her since she had no family or friends. They felt that the reason she did not smile was because she was all alone in the world.

One day, I was visiting the home, and I saw Mrs. Kurtz sitting alone, looking very upset. I asked one of the other residents, Mrs. Smith, why Mrs. Kurtz was more depressed than usual. Mrs. Smith explained to me that Mrs. Kurtz had turned eighty-nine, and she was upset to be celebrating another birthday all alone without anyone or even any cards or gifts. She truly believed there was no one in the world who loved her.

This moved me deeply, and I started to hatch a plan in my mind. I ran home and raced to my room. I poured out all the money in my bank that I had received on birthdays and other occasions. Until now, I had been saving money for a new bike. Although it wasn’t enough for a bike, it was enough for what I wanted to do now.

I raced down the stairs and explained to my mother what I was about to do, and she smiled at me proudly. She planted a kiss on my cheek and said, “I must be the luckiest mother in the world to have such a caring daughter.”

My mother stopped what she was doing, and we went to a gift shop where we picked out a lovely heart-shaped musical jewelry box. Our next stop was the card store where we bought a birthday card to go with the gift. Then we went to the florist and bought a beautiful bouquet of red roses.

Then I wrote the following in the card:

To the best lady at Schonfield Home, happy birthday and all the best!
From your neighbor who loves you very much, Mimi

With all our gifts, we headed for the home, and as expected, we found Mrs. Kurtz still sitting alone and looking very sad. But the minute we approached her and gave her our gifts, I saw her eyes widen in surprise. As she finished reading my message on the card, she looked up and flashed the first smile she had ever given to me.

When I said good-bye to her a while later, Mrs. Kurtz was still smiling, and at that moment, I noticed that my heart was smiling along with hers.

Mimi Frid

“My brother Louie finally learned to share. He gave me his chicken pox.”

Reprinted by permission of Jonny Hawkins. ©2006 Jonny Hawkins.

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