Secret Santa

In 5th grade, before schools got so politically correct, we played “Secret Santa” with another class. On one gift exchange day, my secret santa gave me a card. It said something about how I was a good person, and that he liked how kind I was to others. Some of my classmates got chocolates or some other kind of candy. But I remember crying (I was, and still am, a big crybaby) because it was so different, so heartfelt.

I later learned the identity of my Secret Santa. He was a 6th grader (in those days, they mixed 5th graders and 6th graders together). He was very tall, very smart, and very well respected. I have never forgotten how generous and kind he was — and how it felt to be a short, crybaby 5th grader and have someone older and wiser be so kind to me. He made me feel awesome.

We are still in touch on today. I don’t know if he remembers the Secret Santa game from elementary school. But just today, he sent me a book in the mail — just because he thought I would like it. I am so taken with the kindness and generosity that exists in the world — and especially how kindness endures with so many people through the decades. People will forget what you say, but they will not forget how you made them feel.

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