I was delighted to read this story in the Taranaki Daily News this morning:
Kerry Smith’s five kids pooled their pocket money to get him a ticket to last week’s New Plymouth All Blacks-Ireland test, but in the end he found someone who needed it more.
The New Plymouth sickness beneficiary had just finished his shift as a volunteer at gate three of Yarrow Stadium and was lining up to watch his first All Blacks test since 1994 when he saw something that made him change his mind.
A young boy in a family ahead of him was quite obviously upset after realising, as the pre-match fireworks wowed the crowd, he had left his ticket in their hotel room. Hesitating only long enough to check where his own ticket was, Mr Smith handed it to the boy and the family went in.
Shrugging his shoulders and smiling, Mr Smith has the look of a guilty man.
“I want to give back in some way and I can’t do it financially but in other ways I can. If I help people and friends it makes me feel good. I don’t know what else to tell you mate. It’s all sounds a bit flowery.”
Flowery it may be, but his actions caught the attention of a visiting Irish family who emailed New Plymouth mayor Peter Tennent with the story.
“They ended their email saying, ‘Rest assured we will be recounting this experience back home and will fondly remember New Plymouth and this kind, jolly red-shirted man who showed compassion and kindness to strangers’.
“Kerry is a wonderful example of how kind-hearted and supportive this community is and how a simple action can mean so much to people,” Mr Tennent said.
Yes, a rare media story depicting a beneficiary in a positive light! Well done, Mayor Tennent, and well done, Taranaki Daily News. The vast majority of beneficiaries are like Kerry Smith – kind, caring, warm people who support their families, communities, and even total strangers as best they can, but for one reason or another are unable to earn an income.
Social Development Minister Paula Bennett and another Mayor a bit down State Highway 3 in Whanganui could learn something from Kerry Smith and from the supportive comments about him from Mayor Tennent. Somehow, I doubt they will.