WESTFIELD – Jahcee Valentine Smith, 8, wants to make people happy and he did just that Feb. 14 when he surprised customers at the New Corner store with – what else? – valentines.
Smith and his friend Freya Discenza, 7, handed out bags with toys, flowers, candy and more Sunday in celebration of Valentine’s Day with help from Smith’s mother, Katie Croisetiere. The surprises were given out just days before National Random Acts of Kindness Day, which is Feb. 17.
“I just want to make people happy and feel better,” said Smith, who lives near the Crown Street store.
Megan Gardner was one of about 35 recipients of the valentines.
“I was surprised and touched by it,” said Gardner. “It made my day and makes me think their parents are doing a great job at raising them. I got a vase filled with tissue paper and paper flowers and a bag with a valentine, candy, fake rose petals and a toy that my 9-year-old daughter is currently enjoying.”
Croisetiere said they had planned the surprise for a while and are already working on their next act of kindness.
“We do a lot of things like this,” she said, “we just enjoy making someone’s day better.”
Smith said they frequently give supplies and food to the homeless and others in need, but the Valentine’s Day surprises were about brightening someone’s day and spreading love.
“It was fun,” he said.
“People need this in the world right now,” said Croisetiere. “It’s small acts of kindness that go a long way, and kids are the heroes right now, with all they are going through with school. Kids are the ones that will make the world better.”
Smith said making people happy makes him happy. And, so do his pets. Smith said he loves animals and has several pets, including his favorite animal – bearded dragons. He said when he grows up, he wants to have his own show where he teaches people about different pets.
Until then, Smith said he will keep doing what he can to make others happy while learning more about animals so he can share that knowledge with others.
Croisetiere said the customers were so happy and the owner of the store was so touched by their kindness that he invited Smith and Discenza to choose a few snacks. Some customers also gave the children small treats in return for the surprises they gave out Sunday.
Smith hopes others will share joy and celebrate National Random Acts of Kindness Day all year long.