Three years ago, two high school students helped a homeless man return home. Now, that man is paying the kindness forward in a big way.
One never knows how far a random act of kindness might extend. But, thanks to two Illinois teenagers, an entire high school will be reaping the reward of one kind gesture for years to come.
Three years ago, a man named Wade Herter was homeless and freezing, wandering around in a blizzard in Illinois. It was when two senior high school students saw that he needed aid and helped him that his life took a turn for the better.
Morris-Herald News reports that the students, Ryan Kodat and Luke Arnold, found Herter some warm clothes and a jacket and purchased a train ticket so he could visit his father. Not expecting anything in return, they parted ways with the man and returned to their lives.
Ever since that synchronistic exchange, however, Herter has been hoping to pay back the generosity.
As it happens, when Wade’s father passed away, he learned that he had been left a $1.2 million estate. The money not only helped Herter get back on his feet and move to California, where he now writes while doing film work and stand-up comedy, it allowed him to pay back the kindness shown to him three years ago and in a big way.
He began by sending a letter to the boys’ former school, Dwight High School, explaining his story. Herter also included $10,000, which he asked the district to spend any way they wanted, as long as they used the money to honor his father.
The school administrators were shocked, as no one had heard about what Kodat and Arnold had done for the homeless man years before. However, after reading Herter’s story, it became clear that the best way to use the money would be to pay it forward as scholarship money.
Now, every year for the next decade, two students will be chosen to receive the “Warren Herter Pay It Forward Award.” The $500 scholarship will award students for performing a random act of kindness, and the nominations will be judged by none other than Kodat and Arnold, the two men who inspired the scholarship.
Said one of the administrators:
“It instills faith in humanity that our younger generation will pick up where their fathers, mothers and grandparents left off.”
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