AUGUSTA — Do something nice for somebody.
Such an open-ended and simple request. It can trigger so many things, most of them the small things we shouldn’t take for granted, like holding a door for a stranger or giving a friend a hand.
If you were asked to do something nice for somebody, what would you do?
Elias Younes, Logan Benedict and Tre Caudill, three members of the Cony High School wrestling team, had to ask themselves that last weekend.
Younes, Benedict and Caudill spent Saturday volunteering at a junior high wrestling meet. When it was over, they joined some teammates for dinner at a Chinese buffet. As they ate, a couple sitting nearby overheard their conversation, and noticed it revolved around wrestling.
That couple was Robin and Lester Wilkinson. Their son had wrestled for Cony, and they admired the dedication and commitment it takes to participate in the sport. The Wilkinsons listened, and they decided to do something nice for someone.
The Wilkinsons picked up the wrestlers’ check.
“We asked them what we could do to repay them, they said just do something nice for somebody,” Younes said.
Younes, Benedict and Caudill sat in Younes’ car a few minutes, trying to decide what they could do to pass on the Wilkinsons’ kindness. They decided to pool their money and go shopping.
They had about 100 dollars. They bought canned goods and macaroni and cheese. They bought toiletries, body wash, toothpaste and mouthwash. They bought tissues and toilet paper, and playing cards and dice.
Then, they drove across Augusta to the Bread of Life Ministries Shelter, and gave the shelter their purchases.
“We didn’t know what we wanted to do at first, so we just sat there in the parking lot, Then we said, â€˜Hey, why don’t we just go in and get all the stuff we can afford,'” Benedict said.
When you’re a teenager, 100 bucks may as well be a million. It’s a lot of money. It’s a pocketful of freedom. The boys could have thanked the Wilkinsons, smiled at the good fortune of a free meal, and go on their way with found money in their pockets.
“Everything started with them paying for our meal. I don’t know how much money it was, but it was a lot. For them just to come up and pay for our meal, it was really nice,” Younes said. “We just didn’t want to leave that day and be like, â€˜Hey, we got a free meal’ and just go home.”
Instead, they took the request to heart, and made their response count.
Gerry Clark, the shelter manager, said the donations are appreciated.
“Everything comes in handy,” Clark said.
As they unloaded their donation, the boys were asked by shelter staff what name the donation should go under. Just make it anonymous, Younes said.
“When we brought it in, just to see all the people. They were happy. It felt kind of good,” Younes said.
The wrestlers are still trying to deflect the credit. If you want to thank anybody, Younes said, thank the Wilkinsons.
“Credit should go to them. They didn’t have to do anything,” Younes said. “If they didn’t, we would have spent all the money there, and none of it would have gone (to the shelter).”
A free meal turned into a kindness that will help so many people. Do something nice for somebody. Such a small request that can set off such a wonderful chain reaction.