-Blog post by Mary J., a Kindness Investor from Houston, TX
As I clicked Jack’s leash to his collar for our walk around the park this morning, I decided to put my card with the $10 in my pocket, anticipating a potential kindness investment. The weather is cool and sunny this week, so there would likely be a lot of walkers today working on their New Year’s resolutions.
Across the park, I could see a lone basketball player throwing hoops. “There’s someone with a story,” I said to Jack, as we headed over to get it. Not in my wildest dreams did I expect a teenager who is friendly, caring, deep, a recycler, athletic, technical, methodical, ambitious, an animal lover, quick, honest, dramatic, and wise? And very, very funny.
I told the young gentleman about Reed’s Year of Giving project and asked if he would like to receive my $10 Kindness Investment. A huge smile flashed across his face and his eyes went wide. “OF COURSE? I’d be CRAZY not to accept $10!” He’s friendly.
Then his smile turned to concern. “But you’re not working. Don’t you need it?” He’s caring.
I explained that part of the idea behind the giving project is to help us realize that no matter how down and out we are, we always have something to give. “That’s very cool”, he said. “And a good lesson for everyone throughout life.” He’s deep.
Marcos D. is 14 years old, much younger than I thought, so I’m leaving off some information because of his age. I also asked him to get his parents’ permission for me to post his story on the Year of Giving. I was delighted when he told me they said yes, as Marcos is a very interesting guy with a great story.
Marcos lives with his mom, step-dad and little sister, and speaks English and Spanish. He’s in the 8th grade, but was quick to point out the school shirt he was wearing was from last year in the 7th grade. “It’s still in great condition, so why waste money? I re-use.” He recycles.
“You know,” he continued, “I’ve been very lucky with money lately. I found a $100 dollar bill in front of the grocery store before New Year’s. One thing about me is that I’m not a good saver. I have slippery fingers,” he said, waving his fingers through the air. “If I have it, I gotta spend it.” He’s a teenager.
Marcos says he’s “somewhat of a mutt” when it comes to hobbies, because he likes outdoor sports, mainly basketball, as well as indoor gaming. “Most people like one or the other, but I like it all.” He also likes building and dismantling things. He’s athletic, technical and methodical.
When he grows up, he thinks he’d like to go into technology, maybe developing computer games. He’s ambitious. I told him I would put him in touch with my nephew, John, who works for a gaming company in Austin. “You never know, Marcos. John may be able to help you figure out where you want to go.” I promised him I would give him John’s contact info.
“Hey, don’t pee on the jacket,” he said to Jack, directing my attention to my dog, who was sniffing around Marcos’ jacket bunched up on the ground. I laughed and called Jack over to sit by us while we talked. He gave Jack a big, genuine hug. He told me he’s also a huge dog person and misses his dog, Coco, named by his little sister. Marcos got a little down when he told me they had to give Coco away, but he knows where she lives and sneaks her treats when he can. “I miss Coco. She always made me happy with those big, chocolate eyes. I wish we didn’t have to give her away.” He loves animals.
“So, you got a girlfriend, wife, kids?”, I asked to lighten the mood.
“Nope, still a bachelor,” he said, making me laugh. He’s quick.
I asked what he was going to do with the $10. He thought for a minute and said he might give it to his mom, who could use if for groceries, then looked down at his hands and said, “But with these spending fingers, it may not make the trip home.” He’s honest.
A few favorites:
Class: “I’d have to say reading. DEFINITELY not math. I’m NOT a math person. I’m going bald from all the stress!” he cried as he tugged at a head full of thick, wavy hair. He’s dramatic.
Book: “I like Gender Blender from the library. A guy and girl switch bodies and they have to figure out everything, like going to the bathroom and stuff. It’s ridiculously funny.”
Computer Game: “Metroid. It’s good for the mind, too. You have to collect data, figure out weak points, and stuff. Plus it’s fast-paced action.”
And regarding Lend a Hand…. “Any wishes?” I asked. “Too many to count. I see trillions of doors in my brain right now,” he told me, “and I don’t know which one to open.” He’s creative. “Obviously I could use help with math.” He’s wise. “But more than anything, I’d like my own computer to shoot my own video blog.” He’s a teenager.