Last year Claire wanted to be a big kid and sell Pens raffle tickets on her own. They raised money for the ARL and she was so proud to say, “I’m a volunteer for the ARL, can you help me save the puppies and kitties?” So I sent her off to school with a book of 10 tickets and figured she’d come back home with ten and a sad face.
When she got off the bus, she ran to me and shouted, “MOM! I SOLD THREE!”
She sold one to a cafeteria worker and another two to Miss Merchant.
Claire sat down at the kitchen counter and told me all about it. Miss Merchant is an aide who helps at lunch and recess time. Last year she was paired with the Kindergarten class and Claire always would talk to her about this or that. On the day Claire announced she was an ARL volunteer, Miss Merchant said, “Well, I am, too!”
Claire couldn’t believe it. She kept saying to me, “She’s a volunteer, too! She walks the doggies with Jen Brown!” (Jen Brown is my dear friend and the kids just love her, too.)
They talk every day at school. Claire always tells me so. She says, “Yup! Miss Merchant and I talked about fun stuff today!” and then she goes about her homework.
When school started up again, Claire was featured as the kid of the week in first grade, as each kid gets their own turn. On it, they asked what’s her favorite color, what’s her favorite sport, what’s her favorite things and who does she admire?
Taekwondo and Volunteering for the ARL
I took a photo of the paper and texted it to Miss Merchant. She called me back a little while after, in tears, thanking Claire for being so kind. I told her, “She meant it, there wasn’t anyone else she wanted to list.”
Last weekend Matt and I went to the Paw Prints event for the ARL at Heinz Field. Before we left, Claire asked if Miss Merchant would be there. I told her she would, and Claire whispered in my ear, “Tell Miss Merchant I hope she looks beautiful. I know she will.”
And she did.
When I told her what Claire said, she had tears in her eyes.
There are all different kinds of people in the world. Some give and are very vocal about it. Some do things and have to be vocal about it, in order to make it happen. And some just give for the sake of giving. Miss Merchant is that person. She’s done countless things for good since I’ve known her, and far before I ever knew her, all without asking for a bit of recognition. She’s adopted dogs who were on the short list for euthanasia. She’s put up adoption fees for dozens of animals. She’s supported my kid and her fundraising efforts in both by buying raffle tickets and helping to sell tickets. Every time Claire and I would go to an event to bring our fosters for hopeful adoption, she would show up to help, too. She’s silently helped animals who were in need of surgery. Most of all, she’s given time more than anything else to the shelter and the dogs in it. Day after day, patiently walking them and giving them extra love. You simply can’t fake that. She is inherently good.
As we were leaving the event at Paw Prints, one of her friends came up to me, and said, “She has done so much in her life. So much good. She’s a good person. I’m glad she’s my friend. Having a kid like Claire in her life makes her so happy. Claire’s love is pure.”
Sometimes you never know who you will meet that will touch your life. And on the other side, you never know whose life you may touch. While Claire is just being Claire and not realizing it, she’s making Miss Merchant’s days a little brighter. But what Miss Merchant doesn’t realize either, is that she makes Claire so happy, too.
And me, too.
Thanks, Miss Merchant for being in our lives.