Stacey Truman is the cafeteria manager at Kingston Elementary School in Virginia Beach, Virginia. She loves her job and has worked there for nine years. Truman makes an effort to get to know each child that comes through her cafeteria. She has known many of them since they were very young.
She had an idea for how to add a little inspiration to the kids’ day.
Truman has her own children and loves to write little notes to them to make their day better. Her method of delivery: bananas. Truman writes a little note on banana peels to remind kids of what really matters.
Recently, she decided to start handing out her banana messages to the kids in her cafeteria, as well. She wasn’t sure how they would be received. The result? The kids love them.
It’s a personal way to reach out to each child every day.
Truman calls the notes her “talking bananas.” Each one has a short message written in Sharpie. They say things like, “Don’t give up!” “Be true to yourself!” and “Spread love everywhere you go!”
After Kingston’s principal posted a photo of the talking bananas, the trend exploded. Parents around the country are packing lunch boxes with some inspiration (and potassium).
“It might have just been something on the banana, but for somebody, that might have stuck with them the whole day: ‘Be smart,’ ‘you’re enough,’” said one of Truman’s co-workers.
The community wasn’t about to let her go unnoticed.
Truman was surprised by a local news crew showing up to present her with a People Taking Action award. She also received a $300 gift card. Truman was happy and touched by the display of outreach.
“Oh my God, I am so speechless,” said Truman, wiping away tears. “I never in a million years expected all of this — honestly. I am just so humbled and so embarrassed and so surprised.”
The simple act of kindness is making waves in the school.
Truman is clearly a favorite of the students. Kingston Elementary’s fifth-graders cheered for her as she received the award. They love the talking bananas and their cafeteria manager.
Truman’s colleagues praised for her kindness and outreach to both the children and the staff.
“She’s very kind to all of us,” said a co-worker. “She makes us smoothies and scones and everything. But this is her world, and we so appreciate everything that she does.”
With the students, Truman makes an effort to learn all their names. She also checks in with them on a daily basis and knows how they’re feeling that day. If they are having a bad day, Truman says she tries to cheer them up.
People Taking Action is about improving communities in whatever way possible.
Truman is one of several people who received a People Taking Action award in recent years. In 2017, three men in Currituck County, North Carolina, received awards after they rescued a kitten from a river. Currituck County is about an hour away from Virginia Beach.
The three men were on a boat nearby Mann’s Harbor Bridge when they saw the kitten sail out a car window and into the water. They estimated the vehicle was driving about 60 miles per hour. It didn’t stop or slow as the occupants tossed the helpless animal into the river.
The men said they were lucky to be there. They were the only boat on the water at the time and weren’t even planning on being out on the river that day.
“We just did everything we could to get him in the boat,” said Billy Cox, one of the rescuers. “He was pretty tired when we got him in the boat. He didn’t have a lot left.”
If they hadn’t been there, the poor kitten would have had no one to help him. He has now been adopted and is healthy and safe. His new name? “Bridger.”
Taking action doesn’t have to be about big gestures.
People Taking Action is about people making their community a better place. Their actions can be of any size. They might be about writing messages on bananas to make a school child’s day better. They might also be about rescuing a helpless kitten who was abandoned and hurt.
Local community members always want to reach out to those who do good deeds to let them know how much they are appreciated. The point is to thank those who reach out to make the Virginia Beach area a better place.
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