'Traci had no idea we were going to give her the money; it wasn’t like she was doing anything that she wouldn’t have done anyway,' the mother said.
Editor's note: This article was originally published on January 27, 2023. It has since been updated.
Acts of kindness can change a person's life. It becomes a cherished memory for the one who is helped and makes them want to pay it forward. On January 9, Traci Kaule was working a double shift at Michigan Chili's. It was a slow night and there was only a bartender other than her on the restaurant as staff. However, she didn't know that this was going to be one of the best nights of her life. The Schupbach family was there honoring the memory of their late son Nash, on what would have been his 9th birthday. The family was looking forward to doing an act of kindness.
The family connected with Kaule. Their 7-year-old son, Crue told her mother, "We need to Nash her." Nashing, for them as a family, means doing a random act of kindness on the 9th of every month. They started this tradition when Nash would have been 6 months old. He, unfortunately, died of positional asphyxia when he was 5 months old at his daycare, as reported by TODAY. The idea of doing acts of kindness came from Michelle's sister-in-law. That time, the mother could barely get out of bed. But once, she came to know what people around the world were doing to spread joy in Nash's memory, she also decided to do it. Michelle said, "People were talking about my baby and honoring him with kindness, I wanted to be a part of it.”
There were people who were giving out flowers to people at red lights, some were giving out big tips to pizza delivery persons, she said that Schupbachs were able to keep Nash alive in some way. She said, “As a mom, you love talking about your kid, love to brag about them. This is an outlet to do that." So when the family met Kaule, they felt that Nash had brought them together. Michelle said, “She was so sweet, playing with Mack (Schupbach’s 6-month-old son) and talking to Crue." She said, “Traci had no idea we were going to give her the money, it wasn’t like she was doing anything that she wouldn’t have done anyway, she was just being herself.” The family gave her $1000 as a tip.
In the Facebook video posted by Michelle, she can be seen telling the server, "You're wonderful and we are so excited to do it. We like to think that he leads us to the right people." Kaule then hugs the family and says, "Thank you so much. I'm sorry. Thank you, guys."
She later said that this was the biggest tip she ever got. Kaule said, "As she was telling me her story I was just in awe.” She added, “I was so in shock. I wasn’t actually sure how to receive it, I’m more of a giver." And that's what she exactly did next. She shared the money with the waitstaff having a slow night at another restaurant and she will also be giving to a friend who recently lost her husband and has four kids.
Though Michelle was happy that people appreciated the video online, one of her favorite stories remains the one that no one captured on a camera. According to Michelle, a person desperately needed a flight to go meet their sister who had cancer and they couldn't get a bereavement fare. Another person at the airport paid for their ticket in Nash's honor. She said that they received a private message from the person which read, "Thanks to your baby I was able to be with my sister when she passed.”
Michelle believes that Nash's legacy is what it is because of people's kindness. "His smile helped," she said.