Oftentimes when we see someone who’s less fortunate than we are, we feel good about having “nice thoughts” of helping them. You know the ones I’m talking about, those miniature bouts of consideration that make us feel like such righteous people for wanting to help someone in need.
Maybe we do something for them. Maybe we give them a few dollars or buy them a snack or talk to them for a little bit, feeling like we just brightened someone’s day just by virtue of our simple, awesome existence.
Oftentimes, though, we don’t follow through with our original “nice thought.” It’s just an unfortunate reality of humanity for most of us. But this wasn’t the case for Josette Duran’s son.
Her kid, Dylan, approached her one day with a request: Could she pack him two school lunches that day? Now, Dylan wasn’t going through a growth spurt just wanting some more pre-recess grub.
He noticed that one of his schoolmates would only eat a fruit cup for lunch and asked his mom if she would be cool enough to pack a second lunch so he could have a full meal in the middle of the day.
Touched by his kindness, Josette obliged, and not just for a single day. Or a week, or here and there. She made sure that every day her son went to school with lunch, Dylan’s friend was getting some grub too.
Whatever she packed for her own son, she packed for this young boy as well. And as it turns out, unfortunately, Dylan’s suspicions about his schoolmate’s situation was correct: he and his family could really use the help.
It turns out that Dylan’s friend’s mom was a single parent who had recently lost her job and had fallen on some hard times. She couldn’t afford to buy school lunches anymore, and packing her child something a bit more substantive was difficult.
Once Josette found that out, she doubled down and promised herself that she’d stick to the practice of packing dual lunches every day for Dylan and his friend, even putting special notes for the both of them whenever she prepared their lunches for the day.
For Josette, the situation especially hit close to home: Years prior, she and her son had been homeless and were living out of a car. She resorted to washing her son in public bathrooms and getting food daily was a struggle.
In an interview with KOAT News, Josette talked about the hard times she and her son suffered, and how that just made her want to help Dylan’s friend even more.
“This hits home to me because a few years ago, me and my son were homeless. I was living in my car and I was washing him in bathrooms. And we didn’t have food.”
Once Dylan’s friend’s mother found out what he and his mom were doing for her son, she called Josette up and offered to pay her back for all of the lunches she packed for her son, but Josette refused. In a touching Facebook Live Video she explained that what she did was out of the kindness of her own heart and “…just…did what a human being is supposed to do.”
Once word got out of Josette’s generosity, the members of the girl’s volleyball team that she coaches raised about $400 to help offset the cost of the lunches she packed for the young boy.
Josette accepted the money, but she didn’t deposit it in her bank account or use it for her own bills or buy something she had her eye on for a while. Instead, she gave it to the school’s cafeteria to pay for Dylan’s friend’s school lunch, and to help the other kids who had outstanding balances with the cafeteria.
“Now, everyone can eat.”
That’s what Josette wrote on Facebook when she praised her son Dylan for his act of kindness, which had a wonderful snowball effect that ended up settling lunch accounts for a bunch of students at Dylan’s school.
People loved Josette’s act of kindness, along with the fact that she gave all the props to her son for allowing her the opportunity to help a family in need.
There have been other stories where children were unfortunately so backed up in the school cafeteria system that they were either given cold lunches or couldn’t get themselves lunches at all.
Like the one school that branded students who were low on their lunch accounts with stamps on their hands. It’s not like they put an animal stamp or a fun shape on their wrist: it literally spelled “LUNCH MONEY” on their hand.
To help curb lunch-shaming, there have been lots of instances of donors, students, and parents banding together to pay off hungry kids’ debts in schools so they can grab a hot plate of lunch without shame. Whether or not we could afford, as a government, to cover these lunches for children, is another story, but it’s nice to see that folks are coming through and thinking of children. Because, you know, it’s good to help kids at the end of the day.