“The Kindness Coin,” Friend, June 2023, 36–37.
This story took place in the USA.
Nina grinned as she finished taping the sign to her lemonade stand. “Lemonade! 25 cents,” it read. She stacked the plastic cups next to the pitcher of lemonade.
It was a hot summer day. Nina hoped lots of her neighbors would want a nice, cool drink.
Mr. Burleigh walked by pulling his toddler in a wagon. “I’ll have some.” He put a coin in Nina’s jar. Nina poured him a cup of lemonade.
Next Nina’s friends Bethany and Livvy rode by on their bikes. They stopped and bought some lemonade too. “Thanks!” Bethany said.
Nina shook her jar, jingling the coins inside. She’d already earned a little money!
Then Nina’s favorite neighbor came outside to take out the trash. “Hi, Nina,” Máté said. “I’d love some lemonade.”
Máté and his wife, Tanya, had helped Nina’s family a lot. After Nina’s dad died, Máté helped them with projects around the house. One time he fixed their leaky hose. He trimmed the tall trees in their backyard. And he helped fix Mom’s car when the battery stopped working.
“Here you go.” Nina handed him a cup.
Máté started to put a coin in her jar, but Nina stopped him.
“You don’t have to pay!” she said. “This lemonade is a thank-you for all you’ve done to help us.”
“But the sign says 25 cents!” Máté said. “And this lemonade tastes too good to not pay for it.”
Nina pulled the jar away and laughed. “Nope. It’s free for you!”
The next day, when Nina went outside to get the mail, she stopped. A silver coin was shining in the sun on the porch step. She looked over at Máté’s house. He must have put the quarter there! He was still trying to pay for his lemonade.
Nina smiled. Máté isn’t the only one who can be sneaky, she thought. She ran next door and put the quarter on Máté’s doormat.
The day after that, Nina went outside to ride her scooter. And there was Máté’s quarter, sitting next to the flowerpot by the front door.
Nina rode her scooter to Máté’s house again. This time she put the quarter on a rock by the porch.
Weeks passed. The quarter went back and forth. Each day Nina found the coin on their porch in a new spot. And every day, she hid it in a new place on Máté’s porch.
Then one day, Nina went outside to find a surprise. It was the quarter—made into a pretty necklace. She held it up and smiled. The sun hit the coin and made it shine.
Next door Máté was working in his wood shop.
“Thank you!” Nina yelled over the sound of the saw.
Máté looked up. Nina held up the necklace.
“Tanya helped me make it,” Máté said. “It’s a gift from both of us for being so kind.”
“I guess you win.” Nina laughed and put on the necklace. “I love it so much I’m going to keep it forever.”
She was grateful to have such kind, caring neighbors.