Monday, 23 December 2019
A tap on the shoulder turned an ordinary shopping trip into a heartwarming holiday experience for one boy and his mother, after they were approached by an anonymous “secret Santa” seeking to pay it forward.
Seven-year-old Sebastien De Cock was with his mother in a HEMA store in the Flemish town of Aalst when a “young man wearing a Christmas hat” approached them and tapped Sebastian on the shoulder.
“He gave Sebastien a white envelope. I didn’t know what to do, it went so fast. Before I could react, the man was gone,” the boy’s mother, identified as Karen De Winne told Het Nieuwsblad.
De Winne said that when they opened the envelope a €50 note fell out, eliciting an enthusiastic response from Sebastian, who screamed: “Yes we received money!”
The pair only understood that they were the recipients of a random act of kindness after reading a Christmas card that was inside the envelope.
“Dear stranger, today you are the recipient of a random act of kindness,” the note read. “Take this gift knowing that you deserve it and I wish you all the best in your life and the lives of your loved ones. Let this be an inspiration to send random acts of kindness into the world yourself, may all your dreams come true.”
De Winne said both her and her son were “overwhelmed” by the man’s act, which De Winne’s husband said had likely been inspired by the American film ‘Pay It Forward,’ in which a boy decides to start a chain of acts of kindness after being the recipient of a good deed himself.
In order to repay the man’s kindness towards them, De Winne said they had decided to donate the money to the OCMW welfare centre in their hometown.
“I think he mainly wanted us to understand the underlying message and believe it,” De Winne said, adding: “Next year, we will play secret Santa ourselves, and encourage other people to participate.”
The Brussels Times