Papua New Guinea
Louisa was amazed at the change in Joey, all because of a little kindness.
Louisa lived in Lae (lay) a city in Papua New Guinea. She loved school, and she had lots of friends.
But there was one boy in her class who Louisa did not want to make friends with. No one liked Joey. He was a bully. He was bigger than the other children, and he was rude. When the children were playing, Joey often ran into them. Sometimes he knocked them over, but he never helped them get up; he never told them he was sorry. If a child walked passed Joey in class, Joey sometimes stuck out his foot to trip the other child. Sometimes the child would fall down.
But the thing that made the other children dislike Joey the most was when he would grab another child’s lunch and run away to eat it. Sometimes Joey took Louisa’s lunch, too, but she did not tell her mother. She was afraid Joey would be angry with her and hurt her.
The teacher never seemed to see Joey give the children a hard time. No one reported Joey’s misbehaviour because they were afraid of what joey might do to them. Joey made life unhappy for all the children in his class.
One afternoon as Louisa was walking out of class, Joey stuck his foot out and tripped her. Louisa fell flat on her face. It hurt and Louisa started crying. But Joey did not help her up. He did not tell her he was sorry. Joey just ran away. Louisa stood up, picked up her papers, and walked to where her mother was waiting.
Mother saw tears in Louisa’s eyes and asked, “What happened to you? Why are you crying?
Louisa did not want to tell her mother that Joey had made her fall down. She did not want her mother to tell the teacher that Joey had hurt her. But mothers know when something is wrong, and Louisa’s mother kept asking Louisa what had happened to make her cry. Finally Louisa told her that Joey had tripped her and made her fall. Mother listened quietly, and then she asked, “Is this the first time Joey has done this to you?
“No,” Louisa admitted. Then she told mother that Joey was mean to all the children in the class. “He punches us and trips us and takes our lunches and eats them. He’s so mean!” Louisa felt tears sting her eyes.
“I think I have an idea how we can handle Joey,” Mother said, Louisa wondered what her mother’s plan was. Will she tell the teacher? Will she tell Joey’s mother? Will Joey get mad and hit me?
The next morning Louisa did not want to go to school. She did not want to face Joey again. But mother encouraged her to eat her breakfast. Then she gave Louisa two lunches. “What is this for?” Louisa asked, holding up the extra sack lunch.
“That’s for Joey,” Mother said.
For Joey! Louisa wondered if Mother knew what she was doing.
“Take it,” Mother said. “Give it to Joey. You might be surprised at what happens.” Mothers smile gave Louisa the courage to take the lunch.
When Louisa arrived at school, Joey was already there. Louisa did not wait for Joey to take her lunch. She walked up to his desk and handed him the sack.
“What is this?” Joey asked.
“It’s for you,” Louisa said. “”it’s your lunch.”
Joey took the sack and opened it. He saw a sandwich and a banana inside and some cookies. He did not say anything to Louisa but quietly walked away. Louisa thought she saw tears in Joey’s eyes. A few minutes later joey came back without the lunch.
“Thank you for the lunch,” Joey said quietly to Louisa. Then he added something that surprised Louisa. “From now on, if anyone tries to hurt you, just let me know. I’ll protect you.” Louisa learned that Joey’s family was poor. He usually came to school hungry. Then Louisa realized why joey took the children’s lunches.
Louisa had been afraid of Joey but her little act of kindness changed him.
That afternoon Louisa told her mother what had happened. “How did you know that joey was hungry, Mom?” she asked.
“Sometimes when people are mean, it’s because they need a little kindness. If we treat others with kindness, they will be kind in return.”
Louisa never forgot the lesson she learned that day. And she never had any more trouble with Joey.