Birthday girl Edonna’s random acts of kindness
Edonna Bean started thinking about her 40th birthday months before the grand event.
She knew exactly what she didn't want: a massive party.
A YouTube video of a boy handing his sneakers over to a homeless man gave her the inspiration she needed.
“It really touched me,” she said. “Then I knew what I wanted to do, a day of random acts of kindness.”
She and her husband Ryan left home early on October 11 with “two full carloads of gifts”.
Their treats included Popsicles they had stuffed in a cooler and tons of goodie bags with electricity, gas and grocery vouchers.
The special needs teacher used $700 she got from friends and family in lieu of birthday presents, to pay for it all.
“We gave Popsicles to Dellwood students,” she said. “We delivered pizza to children at the First Church of God nursery on North Shore. We gave goodie bags and vouchers to random strangers we saw on the street and to taxi drivers and hotel doormen. We left positive notes in bathrooms and performed many other kind acts. We hit all nine parishes. The cars were empty by the end of the day.”
Some of her acts were less random than others. Mrs Bean also took the time to thank people who had touched her life.
One of them, Pauline Cameron, helped her after a car accident.
“Three weeks ago, my wheels slipped on Harbour Road,” Mrs Bean said. “I lost control of the car and had to make the decision to turn left into a wall or right into traffic.”
Her two-year-old twin sons, Emyr and Esai, were in the back. She chose the wall; the accident ended up being no more than a fender bender.
“I could have lost my life and theirs,” she said. “My sons were fine. They didn't even know anything had happened, but I was very shaken when I got out of the car.
“Mrs Cameron drove me and my sons home. I didn't know her before she stopped to help me. I am very grateful to everyone who stopped to assist.”
The teacher was moved to tears when Mrs Bean showed up to thank her at Prospect Primary School last week. She and her husband also had gifts for students as well as a special thank you for the school custodian, Richard Warner.
“I drive by there every day and he helps so many people,” Mrs Bean said.
At Hamilton Fire Station she bumped into Craig Whited. In 2014 she went into premature labour while carrying her twins. Mr Whited was one of the emergency personnel dispatched to help her.
“[He] still remembered,” she said. “I was able to thank him.”
She said she had a chance to thank other fire personnel.
“I told them they didn't just help me that day, they saved a family.
“Without them, we wouldn't have our sons. Meeting them and being able to thank them was very emotional.”
An elderly lady at a bus stop was “overcome” after the Beans presented her with a goodie bag.
“She said, ‘You have no idea how much I needed this today'. She had a car, but didn't have enough money for parking. She was going to see the doctor and the news wasn't good.
“We gave her a ride and also gave her two packets of money to cover two hours of parking. She was so grateful she just cried the whole way there.”
At the end of the day Mrs Bean was exhausted.
“I hope I was able to inject some hope that people still do care,” she said.
“I'm hoping to make this an annual event and do it again next year. Hopefully, the people we helped will pay it forward. My husband Ryan is already planning something similar for his birthday in March. I also have a friend who wants to get 40 friends to do good deeds in December for her birthday.”