Sunday, April 3, 2016

A totally surprising pay-it-forward story

It all began on a cold winter day in 2013 in Dwight, Illinois. Wade Herter was a homeless drifter, freezing in a blizzard when two high school students, Luke Arnold and Ryan Kodat asked if they could help him. Herter said he needed to get to Springfield to see his ill father. Without knowing if he was telling the truth, the teens brought him warm clothes and a train ticket to Springfield. They made sure he got on the train, and then forgot about him.

But Herter never forgot their kindness. When his father passed away, Herter was shocked to learn that he'd left him a $1.2 million estate. This inheritance helped him get back on his feet and move to California where he now does film work and (as pictured here) stand-up comedy.

Last month the principal of Dwight Township High School, Dan Kaiser, received a letter from Herter, recalling the kindness shown him three years ago, and enclosing a check for $10,000. Herter only asked that the school use the money to honor his father.

It was the first time the school was aware what Arnold and Kodat had done, and Principal Kaiser knew immediately how to spend the donation. He created the "Herter Pay It Forward Award." Every year, as long as possible, the donation will award a student in the small town of Dwight a $500 prize....for performing a random act of kindness. And who will judge the nominations each spring? Who else?  Luke Arnold and Ryan Kodat.

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