Random act of kindness changes ordinary day

Submitted Photo Eight-year-old Kaden Hookom, a third-grader at Tracy Area Elementary School, recently had an exceptional experience at the Marshall 6 Theatre. He’s pictured with the LEGO poster he received after watching the movie.

In a fast-paced, oftentimes turbulent world, it can be easy to get caught up in day-to-day negativity, whether it’s politics, bad restaurant service, terrible drivers, pressures at work or dealing with a cranky child — the list is endless — and it can bring you down.

But every now and then, a random act of kindness can be a reminder to all of us that there are still exceptional people in this world and that good deeds do still matter.

This past weekend, my niece, Kelly Hansen, took her 8-year-old son, Kaden Hookom, to see a movie at the Marshall 6 Theatre. Besides Kaden accidentally cutting one of his fingers, they said it had been an ordinary day up till that point. But a random act of kindness changed all of that.

“We were just going to ‘The LEGO Ninjango Movie,’ “ Kaden said. “We had no idea that this was going to happen. I walked in there and these people were so helpful and kind. We got in there and Mom forgot her candy, so we went out there and asked for it.”

That’s when Kaden really had an opportunity to engage with employee Morgan Moon, along with other employees, Kyle Potter and Jada Moon, who also happen to be Morgan’s cousins.

“They asked me to come back and tell them if the movie was good or not,” Kaden said. “So I did. And then she (Morgan) gave me a poster of the movie I had just watched. My day was OK (before that). When I got this poster, it made my day the best.”

Kaden added that it was the same poster as the one that Marshall 6 Theatre showcases outside “in those glass cases.”

“I got the exact same one,” he said. “I was really happy. The people at the Marshall movie theater are really kind and nice.”

While Morgan was the one who decided to give the poster to Kaden, it was actually Kyle who handed it to him after the movie.

“Morgan had to leave, so she gave it to her cousin,” Kaden said. “(Kyle) stayed the whole time. He took a picture of me with the poster to show (Morgan) that he gave it to me.”

Kaden also gave the movie a good review.

“It was really good, especially for a LEGO movie,” he said. “As soon as this movie comes out on disc, I’m asking my mom to buy it for me. I can also bring it to your house and we can watch it together if you want.”

With great passion, Kaden continued to talk about his movie experience, rattling off different characters and scenes from the film. I have to admit that I didn’t have a clue what he was talking about, but that might be because my own children are 20 and 25 — though that doesn’t mean they don’t still like watching an animated film or two here and there. It’s just that they’d be more apt to watch old Disney movies.

My son, Dalton, always enjoyed “The Lion King” and “Aladdin,” while my daughter, Kassidy, loved “Beauty and the Beast” and “Mulan” just to name a few.

Anyway, I got a kick out of Kaden explaining how irked he was when one of the “LEGO Movie” characters kept mispronouncing the name Lloyd.

“He kept saying, ‘L-Loyd,” Kaden said. “That annoyed me.”

Hanson said the entire movie experience was so unexpected, but so meaningful.

“It’s really unique, in my eyes, to see young people involved — for them to have that kind of person-to-person engagement,” she said. “The customer service, just when we were buying our snacks, was really neat. They were talking and interacting with us. You always hear about the negative — terrible service here and there — so this was so nice to see.”

Shortly after leaving the movie theater, Kaden asked his mom if he could go back in and give Kyle a hug. Hanson said she encouraged her son to do so if that’s what he wanted to do. Kaden ran back inside, asked permission and then gave Kyle a huge hug and thanked him a second time.

“That made my heart feel good,” Kaden said.

But that wasn’t all. Kaden also responded to the random act of kindness by wanting to follow-up with a thank-you card in the future.

“Kaden almost had tears in his eyes because of how special he felt,” Hansen said.

“They went beyond the call of duty, in my eyes. Kaden said, ‘Mom, we’re going to have to call and see what nights she works and that’s the night I want to go back to the movies. I’m also going to drop off a thank-you card for her.’ To me, it was a beautiful demonstration of what a community is. It was a beautiful display of it and it came from young adults and an 8-year-old.”

I hope more people are inspired to practice the art of giving and receiving.

Too often, we can overlook the small things in our busy, chaotic lives, so thank you, Kaden and Kelly, for reminding us to be grateful for kind gestures — no matter the size. And thank you, Morgan, Kyle and Jada, for going above and beyond to make people feel special. There’s no doubt that kindness still matters.