Tanya, the Real Deal For Kindness

When you meet kindness head on, consider yourself lucky.

On our way home from a long overdue visit with our grandchildren, we stopped for dinner at an Applebee’s, our first dinner in a restaurant in over a year.  Our server was Tanya.  She was delightful, funny, and it was easy to strike up a conversation.  How do conversations evolve into something personal?  I can’t put my finger on it.  Tanya certainly didn’t share her life… but then again she did.

We talked about Covid and masks, how Applebee’s had kept their food service going, and if she had been able to keep working through the pandemic.  We talked about our trip and grandchildren and children.  I told her that I taught preschool.  Hubby asked if she had children- a casual question.

Her answer was not so casual, and one of the most inspiring stories both of us have heard.

Tanya was seeing another man.  He had been married, and he had two children.  Their mother was tragically hit by a car on the way to the dentist, and she was killed.  Without hesitating on what to do, she did the right thing, the kind thing.  She took in those two kids.  They were 12 and 14 years old.  The dad was in and out of the picture.

”How did the children feel?”

“They hated me, especially the girl… until I did her hair for her mother’s funeral.  Now they love me.”

She held back tears.  I did, too.

”Then, their father died.  They stayed with me.  They’re wonderful kids.  One of them works here.”


”Yes.  She’s right over there.”

”Can I meet her?”

So Tanya went to get her, proudly calling her ‘her daughter’.  I had the pleasure of telling her what a wonderful human being her ‘new mother’ is.  I shook the girl’s hand and looked directly into her eyes.  Was it awkward?  Yes, a little.  But, I wish everyone could be told by a stranger, in a restaurant, that their mom is one of the best, and that kindness matters.

Kindness is at the root of becoming a good person and a good citizen.  It’s what I teach my preschoolers in many different ways.  It’s the most important thing I teach children.

I’m lucky that I met kindness, head on.  Thank you, Tanya.


About Jennie

I have been teaching preschool for over thirty years. This is my passion. I believe that children have a voice, and that is the catalyst to enhance or even change the learning experience. Emergent curriculum opens young minds. It's the little things that happen in the classroom that are most important and exciting. That's what I write about. I am highlighted in the the new edition of Jim Trelease's bestselling book, "The Read-Aloud Handbook" because of my reading to children. My class has designed quilts that hang as permanent displays at both the National Liberty Museum in Philadelphia, and the Fisher House at the Boston VA Hospital.
This entry was posted in Expressing words and feelings, Giving, Giving thanks, Inspiration, Kindness, Love and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

116 Responses to Tanya, the Real Deal For Kindness

  1. beth says:

    This gave me chills, I loved it so much

  2. Lovely story Jennie, yes kindness is everything.

  3. Norah says:

    Your story touched my heart and brought tears to my eyes – tears of sadness and tears of joy. How lucky were those children to have Tanya in their lives.

  4. Wow, what a story. I have tears in my eyes too. ❤️

  5. quiall says:

    I firmly believe that the universe nudges us in the direction we need to go. It doesn’t always work. Not all people are capable or kind enough to understand. But I do believe…

  6. Gibberish says:

    There are Truly some kind, compassionate humans out there…and it’s fantastic meeting one of them so randomly….😊😊💟💟

  7. Ritu says:

    How lovely! Xxx

  8. I can’t get my cereal down for the lump in my throat is too big, and the tears are welling up in my eyes…WOW! That’s a wonderfully moving story and inspiration. Tanya is pretty special, and we’re blessed to have learned another wonderful lesson ourselves through your telling us the story of kindness. I hope I can carry this lesson forever and put it into practice multiple times a day. 🥰

  9. delphini510 says:

    Wonderful story, Jenny, thank you for sharing with us.
    Like you I believe totally in kindness. Deep inside I believe we all respond.


  10. What did you mean when you said “Tanya was seeing another man”? Was Tanya married?

  11. beetleypete says:

    Sometimes, fate draws you together with the right person, at just the right time, even during a stop in a restaurant. Tanya was lucky to be serving you that day, and you were equally lucky to meet her, and to be able to tell her inspiring story.
    Best wishes, Pete.

  12. Now that’s a LOVE STORY! ❤ Thanks so much for sharing, Jennie. xo

  13. Beautiful story Jennie and a timely reminder of the goodness in the human race.

  14. petespringerauthor says:

    I love stories such as this one, Jennie. It is a reminder to me how we can connect with strangers simply over conversations with things that all people can relate to. Acts of kindness bring us all together and inspire us to be that way.

    • Jennie says:

      I love these stories too, Pete. And to lucky enough to be part of one was an experience I won’t forget. Kindness inspires even more kindness.

  15. CarolCooks2 says:

    How beautiful that two kindred souls met and Tanya told her story to you what a wonderfully kind human being Tanya is just like you Jennie…A truly heartwarming tale 🙂 x

  16. Darlene says:

    I love how North Americans are willing to open up to others. This is such a wonderful, heartwarming story. Kindness is everything. xo

  17. willedare says:

    Wow! THAT is an extraordinary tale of generosity and steadfastness. Thank you for sharing this tale of an extraordinary Tanya! ps: I bet YOUR kindness and authentic curiosity, Jennie, elicit these amazing life stories on a regular basis as you move through the world….

    • Jennie says:

      I’ve often thought about those reasons, my purpose as I move through the world. Is it teaching children, or is it telling stories that happen, or is it writing about moments of goodness? Perhaps I’m a small link in the chain of kindness, and it grows through teaching and storytelling and writing. Perhaps. At least I got to meet ‘the real deal’ of kindness. Best to you, Will.

  18. Elizabeth says:

    Our world is full of such people and it is sad that so much air space is filled with vitriol and conflict. A quiet heroine just doing what life laid in her path.

  19. My goodness, Jennie, what a story. Tanya is certainly a special person.

  20. Shoes says:

    Wow, what an powerful story! Kindness matters.

  21. Dan Antion says:

    That’s a lovely story, Jennie and Tanya is an amazing person.

  22. srbottch says:

    Such a wonderful story, Jennie. I think the two of you were destined to meet. So nice of you to let her tell her story. We all need kind listeners.

  23. You are like a kindness magnet. I’ll bet you made both mom and daughter of the heart’s day. To be acknowledged for going the extra mile is a big thing. You never cease to amaze.

  24. Tameca N. says:

    Makes me think of the quote- ” no act of kindness however small is ever wasted.”
    Thank you

  25. Chills down my spine

  26. Dr. Aqsa says:

    Hey guys I m a beginner… Check out my blogs once

  27. Sounds Good with great words 😊😊

  28. srbottch says:

    Jennie, I got it, in a round about way. Now, I can add a note and mail it. Yes, I had to publish it first. Thanks, Jennie.

  29. The read deal for sure, Jennie. What a tragic and uplifting story. Kindness is a superpower that we all possess if we choose to use it. ❤

  30. What a wonderful, inspirational post, Jennie! Thank you so much for sharing this with us. Kindness is so very important. Hugs on the wing!

  31. Many many thanks for sharing the story. It’s truly magical. Kindness can do wonders. Also can’t help saying this – even the little acts of kindness have the potential to boomerang to you in unexpected, but wonderful ways. 🙂

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  33. I so appreciate it when someone shares a story that restores my faith in human nature.

  34. whenvi says:

    Inspiring! A true example of we don’t know what struggles and hardships strangers go through so the best thing to do is be kind to every living being!

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  36. What a heart touching story, full of kindness and love for humans. Lets wish Tanya and her children all the best! Thank you for sharing, Jennie! xx Michael

  37. M. Talha says:

    Loved the story

  38. A very heart touching incident. Tanya is a true ambassador of kindness.

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  40. dgkaye says:

    I loved this story. It’s obvious the universe brought those kids to Tanya. ❤

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  44. healthpharma says:

    That’s a nice piece here. It’s good to be kind to everyone we meet. Thanks for this

  45. Jaba Paul says:

    If you don’t mind can you read also my blog please I’m new here

  46. Gosh, that’s intense and such an inspiration. Hats off to her.

  47. Pingback: Perseverance + Kindness = My New Hero | A Teacher's Reflections

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