Wednesday was the 6th grade Olympics for the middle school where I work. We escorted the kids to the stadium at the adjoining high school to watch the activities and events in a day of fun and relaxation (for the kids, heh!) Towards the end when we were getting ready to go to lunch, I carried around a bag for the kids on our team to put trash in from the snacks they had bought from the concession stand. Three kids in particular went around picking up trash that was not their own, helping me immensely.
One of them, a kid I will call Sam, sometimes gets in trouble because he has a hard time controlling blurting out, but I like him because I can tell he has a good heart. During lunch I asked that he be summoned to my room. "You are in TROUBLE," I told him, my face serious and my demeanor stern when he arrived at my desk.
The effect was electric. His eyes bugged out of his head, his mouth dropped open a little and his entire expression said, "UT OH!"
I laughed and said, "Just kidding!" and he laughed in relief. Then I asked him, "You are one of the ones who helped me collect trash, weren't you?" He replied that he was, and I gave him a small handful of Jolly Rancher candies, as I had the others who helped me.
"WOW!" he replied, as he cupped the sweet morsels, treasuring them. It was the simplest thing, but it meant something to him. I was glad I was able to make a small difference to one person on one day.