Courtney Johnson got to her son Peter’s school just in time, and she was able to spot him right away among the crowd of kids at the gate. Peter ran to the car and got in quickly. She helped him put his seatbelt on.

“So, Peter, how was your day at school? Did you have fun?” As they drove home, she asked.


Peter sighed, “It was good, Mom.” “I’m dying of hunger! Could we go to McDonald’s?”

“Are you hungry?” Courtney waited a moment. “Why didn’t you eat today at school? Or, hold on, is that a reason for chicken nuggets? Not again, Peter! Should I ask Mrs. Dickens if she had lunch today?”

“No, mom! That’s wrong! I am really hungry. I would have eaten at the canteen, but Aiden was hungry, so I had to give him my food. By the way, he’s in my class. Please don’t let anyone know that I helped him.”

“What?” Courtney shook her head and stopped the car quickly. “But at school, Peter, everyone brings their own lunch. Why did you give yours to him?”

Peter told his mother, “Aiden doesn’t eat with us.” “He says that his mother can’t buy him lunch. I see him every day as he waits for everyone to finish eating.

“He hides in the playground and eats leftovers so no one can see him. He told me everything when I found him there one day. He asked me not to tell anyone because he was afraid that people would laugh at him. We had gym class today, so everyone was very hungry and ate their lunch right away. I knew Aiden wouldn’t have any food, so I gave him some of mine. I asked my friends if they could also help him. So they gave him some of their food.”

Courtney was glad to hear that her son had helped a classmate in need, but she didn’t understand why Aiden’s mom sent him to school with leftovers. She called Aiden’s teacher when she got home that day to find out more about him.

“Mrs. Dickens, good morning. I hope all is well with you. I just wanted to ask you a question about Aiden. He goes to school with Peter, right? Peter told me that Aiden is having trouble with money. Can I do something to help him?”

“Oh, Mrs. Johnson, that is very kind of you. Aiden is a very smart and talented child. I would say he is one of the best. On the family front, though, things aren’t going so well for him. His mother’s marriage isn’t going well.”

“Oh, my God… No wonder! I’m sorry to bother you, Mrs. Dickens, but… I probably shouldn’t get involved in their family problems, but what is it? Peter told me…”

“They’re no longer together, Mrs. Johnson. Aiden’s mother raises him alone… But there’s a problem with child support, and the wife is sick, so it’s a mess……”

“I see…” Courtney felt bad for Aiden and told Mrs. Dickens what he was eating at school. Courtney wanted to help him in some way. Then she came up with a plan…

“Mrs. Dickens!” she shouted with joy. “Can you do me a little favor?”


“Is it possible to get all of Aiden and Peter’s classmates’ parents together? I want to talk with them about… I just thought of a way to help Aiden….”

Mrs. Dickens took a short break.

“Well, I think we would need permission from the teacher in charge… I can just say that I needed to set up a meeting, and that’s fine. When would you like to do it?

“I think tomorrow would be a good day, Mrs. We need to let the parents know.”

“I’ll handle it… So, Mrs. Johnson, I’ll see you the day after tomorrow.”

“Thank you very much, Mrs. Dickens, but could I ask you one more thing?”


“The parents must think that you are the one who wants to meet with them. It would work better if you did it that way.”


“Thank you, Mrs. Dickens!” Courtney said goodbye and hung up.

When they all got together a day later, Mrs. Dickens told them about Aiden, but she didn’t tell them his name so that the boy wouldn’t be picked on unfairly.

The parents listened quietly at first, but when Dickens started the last part of her talk, a lot of anger came out.

“So? What do you want us to do exactly?” The woman laughed. “A parent shouldn’t send their kids to school if they can’t feed them.”

“Well, ma’am,” said Mrs. Dickens. “All I want is for us to be kind to this boy and help him. The poor kid ate the food that was left over from lunch. It was seen by one of his classmates.”

“Who was it that saw him? And if he’s so worried about his friend, why doesn’t he ask his parents to pay for his meals?” A man was furious.

“I’m sorry, sir, but I can’t tell you who it is. I apologize. If you’d rather not…” Courtney got up before Mrs. Dickens could finish her sentence.

“He did this in front of my son! And it’s awful that you grown-ups can’t see how awful it is!”

Aiden’s mother was also at the meeting. She sat in the corner and tried to hide her tears when she realized that everyone was talking about her son.

The man hissed, “Well, then, go ahead and help him.”

“Of course I will, sir, but you need to know the whole truth before I do. The family of a young boy is going through hard times, and he can’t even buy himself a meal. Do you understand how bad that is? A child who doesn’t eat, when they need to! Imagine if your child was hungry and you couldn’t buy them something to eat. You would blame yourself for being a bad parent and ruining your child’s life.”

“I know that sometimes things force us to do things. We can’t do anything about them. But please try to understand what we’re talking about here: a fourth-grader waits for his classmates to leave the lunchroom after eating so he can eat himself! And he hides them and eats them so other kids won’t laugh at him!”

“What are you doing while you wait? You’re busy passing judgment on him and his family. I’ll tell you what, your kids are much better than you. They often help him and share their food with him. It just shows that younger people can be much more mature than older people.

“There are two ways to solve this problem: we can keep talking about how righteous we are, or we can help him in a way that doesn’t hurt his or his parents’ pride. All I ask is that you all give a small amount, whatever you can, so we can help him.”

Courtney then took out two $100 bills from her wallet and put them on Mrs. Dickens’ table.

No one spoke in the whole room. But soon after that, there was a round of applause, and one by one, the parents put money on the table.

Even though some parents left without giving, it’s okay because they were able to raise enough money to pay for Aiden’s meals for the rest of the school year.

Aiden’s mom came up to Courtney as she was getting into her car after school to thank her for helping.

She said she felt bad about what happened and knew what was going on, but she didn’t have the money to help her child. Courtney told her that everything would be all right.

When Peter got home from school two days later, he had BIG NEWS!

“Mommy, Mommy!” he yelled as he ran to her. “Aiden is about to eat with us! He no longer has to eat the leftovers. He heard from his mom that you helped him. “Mom, you are so cool!”

She gave him a smile. “That’s wonderful, honey. I’m happy that Aiden is now happy.”