California Veteran Teaches Students to Be Kind and Compassionate Daily
It’s up to young people to change the future. One man recognized this and took it into his own hands.
Gina Arnold drove her daughter Audrey to Marina Village Middle School in El Dorado Hills, California, like she did every morning. But as she pulled up to the school, Audrey asked her to drop her off elsewhere.
Why a Young Girl Asked Her Mom to Drop Her off Away From School
Audrey wanted to be dropped off at a corner Gina had already driven past, and when Gina asked her why, she was alarmed by her daughter’s response.
According to Audrey, there was a cute old man who hung out at the corner every morning. He was known for talking to the students before school and sharing advice.
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Gina was immediately worried. She had taught her daughter not to talk to strangers, yet Audrey was talking to this older man outside of the school. Gina drove around the block and back to the corner Audrey was talking about to see the old man for herself.
Why an Elderly Man Had Been Sitting at the Corner for 14 Years
Finally Gina saw him: 94-year-old Wally Richardson, a veteran and a resident of El Dorado Hills. He had been sharing advice — known as Wally-isms — to the young students since 2008.
“Knowing what’s right doesn’t mean much… unless you do what’s right,” was just one of Wally’s many lessons.
Wally was also known as Mr. Knuckles because he always gave fist bumps to the students before they went to class. The students loved him.
“Be kind whenever possible,” Wally always said.
Wally had not always come alone: He and his wife would eat their breakfast in the morning and then walk to the corner to meet the students. However, his wife had suffered from health problems and he had been coming on his own ever since.
How an Elderly Veteran Is Teaching Young Children to Be Compassionate
Wally’s motivation for coming to the corner was simple: He wanted to see more kindness in the world, and he knew that the best way to initiate change was with young people.
“I want them to retain something that they can take on in life later on,” Wally said.
After meeting Wally, Gina doesn’t mind dropping Audrey off at the corner.