The first day of school can be a scary or even a lonely thing for a child. But all it takes is one gesture of goodwill and kindness to turn that around for someone.
Andrew Kirby of Boiling Springs, South Carolina used to eat lunch alone every day.
But not this year. This year Andrew had a whole group of people to sit and eat lunch with. His mother, Kay Kirby, was overjoyed to learn that the student council at his high school asked him to join their lunch table.
Kay Kirby and her husband Tyler Kirby adopted Andrew after fostering him as a baby, according to ABC News.
Not only was Andrew born with a drug addiction but he was also born with neurofibromatosis, a genetic condition that causes tumors to form in the brain, spinal cord, and nerves.
His condition has caused him to have several major back and neck surgeries.
Andrew has always been a shy kid and would often sit his by himself at lunch during middle school.
“He’s more of a loner,” Kay told ABC News. “He’s a good kid, but he’s just different. It doesn’t make him odd or bad. He’s very loyal and everybody that meets him loves him.”
Kay would often text Andrew during the school day to ask if he was eating lunch with anyone.
The answer would often drive her to tears.
“When he’d say, ‘No,’ I would have to turn my head a lot of time [and try] not to cry,” Kirby said. “He would say, ‘Mom, it’s ok. I get on my phone, so I don’t notice.'”
But all that changed this year. Andrew got into his mother’s car with a big grin on his face after the first day of his junior year.
He explained to her that he made friends.
Members of the student council saw that he and some other kids were eating lunch alone so they invited everyone to sit together.
“It may seem small to them, but they made a difference in his life,” she said.
Kay was so overjoyed by the act of kindness that she posted about it on Facebook.
“This is a SHOUT OUT to the Boiling Springs High School Student Council because today I texted Andrew at lunch (Like I often do because he normally eats alone and it breaks my heart) and he was eating alone,” she wrote on Facebook.
“But as soon as he got in the car after school he said ‘Mom, I didn’t eat alone! Some student council members asked me and 3 others eating alone to come sit with them, and said we could eat with them again tomorrow too!’ This has been a concern of ours every year. The thought of our son or any child eating alone everyday breaks our heart. These students may not have thought this was a big deal, but it was an answer to prayer and a great encouragement for Andrew. THANK YOU to those students, you made a difference today!”
Kay’s post ended up going viral and was shared more than 5,000 times.
Even U.S. Sen. Tim Scott commended the Boiling Springs High School Student Council for their kindness.
The students who invited Andrew to eat lunch with them are trying to have their lunch schedules arranged so that they can continue eating with him in upcoming semesters.
Damian Howarth was one of the students who asked Andrew to eat with him.
He says he was shocked that Andrew had been eating alone for so long.
“We should have stepped up before and more people should have, too,” Howard told FOX Carolina. “Don’t be afraid to meet someone new. Just go out and do it.”
You can see Kay’s original post below.
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This isn't your typical "First Day of School" post. This is a SHOUT OUT to the Boiling Springs High School Student…