The boy insisted they give the 30 cents he had in his pocket even though his dad hesitated.
A small act of kindness can go a long way and a 5-year-old boy's action at a traffic stop is proof of that. Justice Smith was driving back from the dentist with his 5-year-old when they saw a homeless man in the median strip of the road. Smith wanted to help the man but had no cash on him. His son Justus Mateo held out 30 cents from his own pocket, unprompted. “Uncoached, he insisted that I give the man the 30 cents he had in his pocket,” wrote Smith on Facebook. “It’s almost as if he heard my thoughts and responded out loud.”
Smith was overjoyed that his son had such a big heart but then he thought it was only 30 cents and what difference it would make to a homeless man. “I was more than happy he wanted to do this with joy (it means he’s been watching), BUT honestly I was hesitant. I didn’t want to give this man who clearly needed all the help he could get, just 30 cents. My own pride and thoughts of the homeless individual’s unknown reaction to receiving just two coins were standing in the way.”
Smith was a little embarrassed at the potential reaction from the homeless man for being given just 30 cents. “I quickly realized that I was the only problem in this situation and that the traffic light would turn green at any second. I then thought to myself, ‘Dude get over it. This is what we’ve been teaching him and now that he wants to give everything he has to offer in this moment, you’re going to let your personal self-centeredness ruin a possibly life-long, great memory and solid teaching moment?" he thought to himself.
He knew it was a teachable moment and decided at that moment to let Justus give the 30 cents he had. "I almost told my son, ‘Let’s wait to give until we at least have one dollar.’ I almost told our son by my inaction that what he had wasn’t enough. I almost showed him that what he sees as a good thing, and is in fact a good thing, isn’t good enough to make a difference in someone’s life. I almost taught him that pride was more important than helping another human.”
“Thank God I quickly snapped out of that foolishness.” He rolled down the window and said, “I’m sorry man, I don’t have any cash on me, but my son back here wants to give you everything he has right now. He just turned 5. And my God… The smile on that man’s face lit UP the intersection and he said to Justus, ‘God bless you little man! Thank you so much!’” wrote Smith. His son's face had lit up as well. “The only thing that matched the brightness of that stranger’s smile after that moment was…the bigger smile on our ‘baby’ boy’s face!!”
That one act of kindness also set off a chain reaction with the cars that followed them rolling down their windows to donate as well. “Our little boy, without even realizing it, reminded me once again by his actions that it’s always about the heart. It doesn’t matter how much you have or how little; giving in love and sincerity will often bless others more than we think,” he wrote. Smith said he had almost "messed up big time" but was glad he could salvage the situation. "I'm thankful that he has my Wife's heart!!" he concluded.
Facebook users lavished praise on the little boy and lauded Smith's parenting. "Justus was the little pebble in the pond that created a ripple effect of love and truth that we ALL can learn from and live by. Well done little man, go put a dent in the universe!!" wrote one person. "It melts my heart knowing that there are still kind-hearted people in this world instilling EXCELLENT values in their child," wrote another.