When Henry Monroe saw a YouTube video of a 22-year-old man in Europe doing 22 acts of kindness for his birthday, he couldn’t get the idea out of his head.
So when Henry, a seventh-grader at Carmel Middle, turned 13 this month, he followed suit: Instead of a party, he spent the day with his parents going around Charlotte to perform 13 acts of kindness. Rainy weather didn’t deter him either: “It didn’t really bother me because I knew I was doing good, so it didn’t really affect me.”
Henry is in Boy Scouts and likes to rock-wall climb and play football. His favorite subject in school is math. His mother, Anne Monroe, called him spirited. “He’s very lively and can turn anything into a party,” she said.
Henry said he’d like to do 14 things for others next Dec. 14. He also said he’d love to inspire people to do the same on their birthdays.
Here’s what he did this year, starting at 8 a.m.:
1. Gave a thank-you letter and gift card to the postal carrier. “I just thought of what people might like because they always have to work such long hours and hard hours, so I thought he might enjoy it.”
2. Gave blankets; 3. apples; and 4. toiletry bags to the homeless at the uptown Men’s Shelter of Charlotte. “They were really appreciative, and it put a smile on their face and they were all really happy.”
5. Returned grocery carts for customers in a parking lot. It was particularly appreciated in the rain.
6. Cleaned up trash at Sedgefield Park.
7. Paid for the person behind him in a drive-thru. Henry and his parents got a soda at a Chick-fil-A on South Boulevard and bought the coffee and breakfast sandwich the man behind them ordered. Henry gave the cashier a note explaining his birthday plans for the unsuspecting driver.
8. Helped decorate a room at a senior center. Henry set up chairs for residents to watch a Brownie troop performance later that day.
9. Brought cans to a food bank. Henry bought some cans the week before from Harris Teeter and, on his birthday, dropped them off at the Loaves and Fishes Food Pantry.
10. Held the door open for others throughout the day.
11. Took the family dog to a dog park. “She was recently attacked, so she was scared to be around other dogs, so we took her and she was really happy.” (The rain stopped when they got to the park.)
12. Thanked members of the fire department. Henry did that by stopping at a station on Wilkinson Boulevard with a tin of sugar cookies.
13. Planted a tree. Henry and his parents got a viburnum tree from Lowe’s and planted it in their backyard. “A lot of trees are getting chopped down, so I think we should try to put more trees out, so that was one way I could help.”
Ruebens: 704-358-5294; Twitter: @lruebens
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