A stranger on the bus passed this note to Alaura Mae after her 5-year-old daughter expressed fears about entering kindergarten. (Photo: KING5)
A 5-year-old who was nervous to start kindergarten got an encouraging note last week from an unlikely source — a stranger on the bus — and this week, her mom was finally able to thank him.
Ella Mitchell was talking to her mother, Alaura Mae, about her hesitation to enter kindergarten while riding a Seattle bus last week. “One of the things that came up was that she was nervous about learning to read,” Mae tells Yahoo Parenting.
Soon after, the man sitting opposite Mae got off the bus, but not before handing Mae a note. “At first I was like ‘dude, why are you giving me a note on the bus?’ but then I read it and was like ‘oh, because you’re awesome.’” Mae says.
Alaura Mae and her daughter, Ella Mitchell, were pleasantly surprised to receive a kind note from a stranger on the bus. (Photo: Alaura Mae)
The note read: “When you practice letters enough, and the sounds they make, they’ll start to work together and make sense, and then you’ll be reading. When you can read, you’ll know what EVERYTHING says. All the signs, all the names, all the books, writing is EVERYWHERE if you look. Soon you’ll be able to read books, and everything there is to know is in them! You’ll be able to find out whatever you want! It probably won’t be easy, but it won’t be hard forever. It’s going to be so exciting! Good luck!“
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Mae didn’t get to thank the man for the note, nor did she even know what he looked like, but she still wanted to express her gratitude for his kind gesture. “Taking the bus in Seattle is always an adventure. There’s a lot of really creepy people out there,” she says. “So somebody taking five minutes of their time to encourage my daughter was encouraging to me, too.”
On Monday night, Mae posted the note on Facebook and Reddit in hopes of tracking down the kind stranger. In less than 24 hours, she’d found him. “A friend of mine actually saw the post and was like, ‘I’m kind of dating him,” Mae says. “Seattle’s small like that.”
Mae reached out to the man — whose name she didn’t want to reveal to Yahoo Parenting — to thank him and to relay how excited Ella was to receive the note. “He said he was really glad that I looked at the note, because he was trying to respect our privacy but still wanted to share this message with Ella,” Mae says. “He said he struggled a lot with learning to read as a kid, and remembers how frustrating it was and he didn’t want her to have the same frustrations.”
Today, Ella is feeling better about kindergarten, and Mae says she hopes they can thank the man in person one day. “Ella thinks it’s super cool that she got a note on the bus. It’s something that really excited her,” Mae says. “But I don’t think she realizes quite what it means for someone to do this, to take their time and do something awesome.”
The note was a message for both mom and daughter, Mae says. “It reminded me, personally, that both being kind to others and learning to read shouldn’t be frustrating experiences,” she says. “They should be things that we are all excited to share together.”