Stephen A. Peterson
While serving in Iraq, a kind soldier spent a little more than half of his monthly pay to purchase food and clothing for as many children as he could find. In a few hours of making his purchases, the soldier gave food and clothing to 17 children from 11 different families. Laying the food and clothing down, the soldier said, “Here, children. Take this food and these clothes home. And may God bless you all!”
To one child, the soldier said, “Here, take this food and come back here at this place every day at this same time. Okay. The hungry girl, holding the hand of her little brother, shook her head seemingly to affirm she understood the soldier’s instruction. Though the other children in the group had pushed and shoved to get the most food and clothing, the little girl and her brother did not. But she and her little brother stood quietly and with discipline until the soldier noticed her. She stepped forward to accept the remaining food left but received no clothing because it was quickly taken by the other children. When the soldier gave the girl and her brother the remaining food, the young girl kissed the soldier’s hand and quickly went home with the food and her brother.
The net day the girl returned as she was instructed. She was given, three bags full of food and clothing. As before, the girl kissed the soldier’s hand and quickly returned home. When she arrived home, she left the bags in the kitchen area. Her mother, an upright and kind woman, removed the food and clothing to find a large leather bag in one of the paper bags. When the mother opened the bag, a table full of Iraqi coins and bills fell onto the kitchen table. Very much alarmed, the mother said to her daughter, “Take this money back to that good soldier right now. I don’t believe he just gave you this much money. It has to be an accident. Here, go quickly! Take this back to him right now! Take your brother with you!”
When the girl arrived with the bag of money, she gave the soldier the bag and said in her broken English, “Mother said to me money mistake. Did not mean to give. Mistake. Giving back to you. Okay!”
“No, young lady. No mistake. I gave it to you and your family. No mistake. The soldiers in my unit give this money to you so can buy clothes and more food for yourselves. Tell your mother its okay. Go back home and tell her tell. Tell your mother that the money is your family’s. Go in peace. God be with you!”
When the girl returned home, she told her mother what the soldier said. The mother replied, “May the God of the soldier bless him with prosperity and long life for his goodness and kindness
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