Teenagers mostly get a bad rap … it has always been so. Granted, sometimes it is deserved, for they are at that awkward age where they’re no longer a child, yet not an adult, either. And then there are the hormones, but we’ll leave that alone. Anyway, every now and then a number of teens who have been doing good things for others come onto my radar and I like to shine a spotlight on them. This week is one of those times …
Two high school sophomores in Prairie Grove, Arkansas, Kylee Kruse and Aidan Martin were shopping for groceries at Harps when they stumbled across six hundred dollars folded in half on the floor.
Instead of pocketing the cash, they decided to turn it over to a store employee.
“Obviously it wasn’t like an easy, simple, ‘okay let’s just turn it in’, but we knew we had to do the right thing. It felt really good. We knew it belonged to somebody and that we needed to get it back to who it belonged to.”
It turns out the cash belonged to an elderly man who returned to the store minutes after the teens left. The store manager also gets kudos for making sure the community knew about the teens’ actions.
Hita Gupta of Paoli, Pennsylvania, used to pay weekly visits to seniors in local nursing homes, and when, due to restrictions caused by the coronavirus pandemic, she was told she could no longer visit, she was heartbroken. She used to organize activities on her visits, such as games of trivia and bingo, but now she could not even visit.
“The seniors aren’t able to see their families, so that’s causing loneliness, boredom and anxiety.”
But, Ms. Gupta came up with the idea to deliver care packages to all of the nursing homes in her area stuffed with puzzles, coloring books, and handwritten notes, many of which are written by her 9-year-old brother, Divit.
“My brother helps me a lot. It’s a lot of work.”
Thus far, Hita has sent 23 packages to people in nursing homes in the Philadelphia area.
“I call them and say I’m going to leave the boxes outside the front door. They usually leave it out for a few days to make sure there aren’t any germs before passing it out to the residents. Loneliness is now a bigger problem than ever with our pandemic and social distancing guidelines. We need to let nursing home residents know that they are not being forgotten, and that they are not alone. As a community, we need to work together to make seniors feel loved and valued.”
What an awesome young lady!!!
Here’s one for the record books! Jose Nuñez Romaniz of Albuquerque, New Mexico, was on a mission to buy socks for his grandfather (see, he’s already a good people and I haven’t even told you the story yet). Before he could make the purchase, he stopped at an ATM outside a Wells Fargo bank to deposit money. As he pulled his truck alongside the machine, he spotted a clear plastic bag on the ground, filled with $50 and $20 bills.
“I didn’t know what to do. I was, like, dreaming. I was just in shock. I was looking at myself and just thinking, ‘What should I do?’ My parents always taught me to work for my own. Stolen money would never last you any time.”
So, what young Jose did was called the Albuquerque police and handed the bag of money to them. The cash totaled … wait for it … $135,000!!! Turns out the money was mistakenly left outside the ATM by a bank subcontractor that was meant to supply the machine with cash. My best guess is that subcontractor is now unemployed! His act of honesty didn’t go completely unrewarded …
- Albuquerque ESPN Radio presented him with signed sports memorabilia — including a football autographed by former NFL and University of New Mexico linebacker Brian Urlacher.
- The radio station also threw in six season tickets for UNM football, said station president Joe O’Neill, who had heard about Nuñez’s story from a police acquaintance.
- At least three local businesses presented Nuñez with $500 each, with one of them — a restaurant — adding a $100 gift card.
- The Albuquerque police department presented Nuñez with a plaque and offered him a job as he plans to major in Criminal Justice.
- Several officers went to Nuñez’s home before he returned and praised him to his parents.
His mom was proud of him.
“She told me I did the right thing and that she was proud of me. She called me and almost started crying.”
And in West Yorkshire, UK, fifteen-year-old Ryley Ferguson was walking his two dogs when he spotted a 15-month-old falling into the water while out of adult eyes. Ryley immediately threw off his shoes and coat and dove into the canal.
“It all happened in a split second and suddenly I was at the bottom of the canal and managed to grab him. I was pretty calm I think but I was flustered as the water was so cold and my heart was racing. If I wasn’t there, if I walked by just thirty seconds later, he could have died.”
Ferguson struggled to get out of the canal as he was holding the toddler, but after shouting for help two men pulled them out of the water.
Reggie began to cry but Ferguson said he calmed down after he reassured him, saying, “don’t worry, I got you”.Reggie’s mother Rebecca Hampton said she was working in the garden when Reggie had wandered into the canal on his own.
“Ryley is our guardian angel, he saved my boy and saved my life. Reggie will grow up knowing who Ryley is and what he’s done. He’s our superhero.”
A neighbor set up a GoFundMe page to raise funds for Ferguson but the teenager has refused to take any money and asked people to donate it to the NHS instead.
Now THAT’S a good people, my friends!
There are at least as many good people among teens as there are among adults. In part, they adopt our values, we teach them to be compassionate, to care for others, and even in their weird teen years, the lessons are learned and followed. Remember, we were all once teenagers!