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Christmas kindness: Strangers buy bicycle for boy in need

A group of local high school students recently saw the true meaning of Christmas reflected in an unexpected act of kindness from two strangers.

Chilton County High School Historical Society officers Katie Mims, Patrick McKinney, Mason Easterling and Justin Barrick and their sponsor, Kelly Baker, were shopping for an 8-year-old boy’s Christmas gifts at Walmart earlier this month when a couple in the store overheard a dilemma they were discussing.

“We had already selected clothes, which the little boy was in desperate need of and had $90 left to spend on toys,” Baker said. “We were debating on if we should purchase a $40 Star Wars sword because we would not be able to purchase much more in toys.”

Baker and her students were buying Christmas gifts for the CCHS Historical Society to donate to the boy, a student at Clanton Elementary School.

CES counselor Tracy McDaniel had given the group the boy’s name, age and clothing sizes.

Then, all historical society members donated about $5 each to purchase the boy’s gifts, and Baker chipped in about $20 to give them more than $200 to spend.

Even so, Baker said she and her students were limited on how much they could buy for the boy until a couple approached them in Walmart and offered to help.

“A woman accompanied by her husband said as a mother of four grown boys that the little boy would like the sword,” Baker said. “When we explained why we were debating the purchase, the couple gave a donation of $20 to put toward the little boy’s toys. We then told them how much we appreciated the contribution and continued to shop.”

Several minutes later, Baker said the woman tapped her on the shoulder and asked her to walk back with her to the bicycle department.

“The student officers followed behind me, and when we walked up on the husband, he already had a bicycle chosen and said they would like to purchase the bicycle for our little boy. We couldn’t believe that someone would be that generous for someone they did not know.”

Baker said the bike cost nearly $120 before tax.

She and her students took the bike and the gifts to CES for the boy’s parents to pick up before Christmas.

The couple at Walmart didn’t reveal their names but told Baker and her students they belonged to a ministry and wanted the boy to have a great Christmas.

In her 20 years as the CCHS Historical Society sponsor, Baker said she has never witnessed a similar act of kindness.

“We were all just kind of shocked,” Baker said. “In the time when most of the news is bad news, it’s kind of nice for somebody to do something like that. The four young officers with me were very impressive with the appreciation they showed the couple, and we talked about how much it would mean for that little boy to receive the bicycle.”