Today I’m celebrating three years since I took the leap from having a day job to making art my full time career. It’s a strange time to be celebrating anything, especially as my small business, like so many others, is struggling to ride out the Covid-19 storm without drowning.
So, to celebrate I will tell you a story about this little girl here and about the profound impact a seemingly small act of kindness can have on someone.
This little girl is in third grade and just won an art contest — an art contest she doesn’t know she entered. It’s the first art contest she has ever won. She has never been happier.
But there is more to the story. You see, this girl is an immigrant kid. Her parents are working hard to build a life in a new country, so they move a lot. This little girl just moved to a new school where she doesn’t know anybody. She is the weird kid with the hand-me-down clothes and the funny accent.
And then, one day Officer Friendly walks into her classroom. The kids are excited, watching in anticipation to find out the reason for the surprise visit. And you won't believe it, of all the kids in the class, Officer Friendly calls out HER name! Why? Well, Officer Friendly says, this little girl won an art contest! "A what?" the little girl thinks.
You see, her English isn’t that good yet, so when her teacher at her previous school had told her to draw a picture to send to their local police station, she drew a picture, not understanding that it was a competition. When the police officers came to announce the winner, they found out that the little girl whose art they picked had moved away.
They could have stopped there and given the prize to someone else — or to no one at all. But they didn’t.
Instead, they decided to do some research and find the little artist who had won their contest fair and square. And that’s how they arrived at my new school and surprised the shy new kid who didn’t know anyone. It is the kind of kindness that this little girl, who dreams of being an artist when she grows up, will still think about 30 years later, when her dream has come true.