At first glance, the Wrights look like any other local family going Christmas shopping at the Truro Mall.
But when eight-year-old Bella strode up to shoppers to hand them a Tim Hortons gift card or a box of chocolates, their smiles reflected the true spirit of Christmas. For Bella, being kind in this manner made her feel “Very, very happy.”
“It just makes my heart happy,” said her mother Gina Wright. It makes me feel really good the kids all learn to give at Christmas time and not just get. It just teaches them an important life lesson.”
Gina was at the mall with her children, Bella, and four-year old Cody, as well as her sister Shirley and mother-in-law Phyllis on Dec. 8, to perform such “random acts of kindness” for strangers.
One such stranger was shopper Heather Patterson from Truro, who thanked Bella with a big hug after she received a gift card from her and Cody.
“It was wonderful,” said Patterson. “It was unbelievable, I was shocked. A sweet little girl and little boy, I didn’t know what was going on but it was beautiful.”
Another lucky gift recipient was Pierre Landry from Quebec, who said “people should be more kind to each other and not just at this time of year.”
Every year, the Wright family, from Hilden, will perform good deeds over the festive season, such as bringing hot drinks for police, firefighters and ER doctors on Christmas Eve, or handing out cookies to their neighbours.
Just three days before their mall outing, Wright and her two children took blankets to seniors living at Parkland Truro.
Their tradition of Christmas kindness began almost by accident six years ago, when they couldn’t find their garbage workers or postal employees to whom they wanted to give chocolates.
The Wrights ended up donating them to other people – their first of many random acts of kindness.
“I think it’s incredibly important,” said Wright. “I hope it’s something that our children will remember and carry on in the future with their own kids. Kindness is a timeless thing – it never goes out of style.”
She is planning more such acts of kindness when her husband James returns home for Christmas from Fort McMurray, Alta., on Dec. 19.
While the children will receive presents on Christmas Day, Wright was keen to remind them they are luckier than many others in Truro and Colchester County, who must rely on food banks and charity gift drives to enjoy the holiday.
As such, Wright’s Christmas message for her children was simple.
“More than you get, you need to give,” she said.