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12-Year-Old Girl Dies by Suicide After Being Relentlessly Bullied and Harassed at School

After facing relentless bullying and harassment over the past school year, 12-year-old Flora Martinez ended her life on May 7. Now, her parents are demanding change from schools and administrators after the bullying persisted, even once she was gone.

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After his wife Maddy died of cancer at just 26 years old, Chandler David Smith was left grieving an unimaginable loss and navigating what it looked like to be a single dad. In his grief, he found new and beautiful love with a young widow and mother of three.

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Eighteen years ago, when she was just one day old, a baby named Colleen was surrendered at a “Safe Haven” box in Clermont, Florida. Now, as she successfully graduates high school, Colleen is reuniting with the firefighters who were with her on that fateful day 18 years ago.

Toddler Hugs the Pizza Delivery Man Who’d Recently Lost His Daughter

Alyssa’s Mother’s Response

Ryan’s ex-wife, Danielle McCord, was also moved by the interaction, and she shared a news report that included the video on Facebook. She said, It took hours to even allow myself to watch this.” She explained that she had been reluctant to share the clip because she and her family are very private and also because it wasn’t her moment. Regardless, after a lot of contemplation, she decided to share the sweet moment with her friends and family on Facebook.

Danielle said, “I’ve been more open during this process than ever in my life because…honestly the support of everyone, even complete strangers, has helped us all so much.”

She explained that it took a lot for her to even bring herself to watch the video, let alone share it. But eventually, she hoped the video might touch others and she thanked Lindsey Sheely for being so supportive of her family. She said, “Again, I give my thanks to Lindsey Sheely for being so supportive of us. We’re total strangers, but you’d never know that based on the love and support she’s given.”

The toddler who hugs the pizza man had no idea how he would touch not only Ryan himself, but also Danielle and many others who watched the video. As Danielle reflected on the moment, she said, “It’s so easy to miss people and their internal pain. Even with our daughter, we didn’t know her pain. I can’t help but be grateful that someone saw his pain and could be there for him.”

Although it’s been nearly two years since this event, the family had a GoFundMe set up, and $31,012 was raised to help pay for Alyssa’s service and her family’s travel expenses in connection with her death. There were more than 100 donations to the fund for Alyssa, who had reportedly had mental health issues.

Let’s Take a Cue From the Toddler

The moral of the story: don’t forget that everyone you come across probably has worries and struggles. We don’t know if they are struggling with mental health issues, such as anxiety and depression. In the wake of the pandemic, these have hit the world hard, which is evidenced by counselors and counseling centers all over being inundated with calls. But community kindness can have an impact. When we all slow down and remember that every other person we meet is an image-bearer, we can shine God’s light into a dark world. Extending kindness like that little toddler who hugs the pizza delivery man can make a world of difference!

After the moment caught on camera when that toddler hugs the pizza delivery man, Ryan Catterson, he received lots more love and support for what he was going through. Ryan said, “”A lot of people are commenting that may have been her looking out for me. Those words mean something. Maybe she’s there.”

Who can you reach out to today? Or how can you share Jesus’ light with a stranger during your everyday tasks? Jesus said in Matthew 18:3, Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” So let’s take our cue from Cohen. Perhaps just giving a smile or avoiding showing impatience could make all the difference to someone. Comment below, if you have ideas on what you might do, or an experience where you saw someone moved by kindness. Better yet, if you were someone moved by kindness share your special story here!

Jessica Sausto
Jessica Sausto
Jessica Sausto is a longtime writer and editor of Christian resources, news, and information.

12-Year-Old Girl Dies by Suicide After Being Relentlessly Bullied and Harassed at School

After facing relentless bullying and harassment over the past school year, 12-year-old Flora Martinez ended her life on May 7. Now, her parents are demanding change from schools and administrators after the bullying persisted, even once she was gone.

One Year After 26-Year-Old Wife Dies of Cancer, Husband Finds Redeeming Love After Loss With Young Widow

After his wife Maddy died of cancer at just 26 years old, Chandler David Smith was left grieving an unimaginable loss and navigating what it looked like to be a single dad. In his grief, he found new and beautiful love with a young widow and mother of three.

Florida ‘Safe Haven’ Baby Graduates High School, Reunites With Firefighters Who Received Her 18 Years Ago

Eighteen years ago, when she was just one day old, a baby named Colleen was surrendered at a “Safe Haven” box in Clermont, Florida. Now, as she successfully graduates high school, Colleen is reuniting with the firefighters who were with her on that fateful day 18 years ago.