Winston Lee, a teacher from Kentucky, was recently pleasantly shocked when a student of his offered to donate their bonus points on a test to the person with the lowest score. This was a student who always did well, who probably knew that they'd aced that test, so they wrote Winston a note in hopes of performing a simple act of kindness.
Winston was so touched by this gesture that she shared a post about it on Facebook, where it proceeded to go completely viral, garnering over 90,000 reactions, 64,000 shares, and 4,500 comments, which were, kind of surprisingly, all over the place in terms of support vs. criticism.
"Have to shout this out," Winston wrote on Facebook. "Had honestly never seen this... One of my guys, a straight A+ guy, offers up his five bonus points to someone in need. Anyone.
"Totally offering what is rightfully his, his earning, to any peer that may have been struggling especially hard the day of the test.
"He didn't care if he considered them a friend, didn't care if they were cool, didn't matter to him what situation had caused them to score lower, he just wanted to help, be kind, commit a loving act.
"This note gave me so much hope. Let us all be a little more like this young man!!"
This is a truly kind and thoughtful gesture, and it really does serve as not only a reminder that we could all stand to perform more small acts of kindness, but it's also such a surprising and impressive gesture for — I assume — a high school student.
Most of the comments were wholly supportive and many were similarly impressed and touched. "One sweet gesture that gave me chills," one person wrote. "Feels great to still see genuine kindness."
Though many comments were very positive, a handful of others thought it was inappropriate for a student to be awarded points they didn't earn. Some believe the straight-A student should have donated their time to help those with lower test scores.
Others thought it sent the wrong message if someone who should have gotten a D ended up with a C...on one test...in one class...that won't matter in the grand scheme of their lives.
The people criticizing this situation instead of celebrating it are probably the same people who believe poverty isn't a societal failing but a personal one and who think that everyone can make it if they just "pull themselves up by their bootstraps."
I say this as someone who stressed out a lot about my test scores in high school — they don't matter. None of it matters. Maybe the person who got the lowest score on that test just had a bad day. Maybe they were stressed about other things in their life and didn't have time to study.
Maybe they tried their hardest, and they just have trouble with the material. Or perhaps genuinely didn't care enough to put in the effort and goofed off a bunch, and that's why they got the lowest score.
The exact point of this gesture and this post is that this student didn't care why the person with the lowest test score got the lowest test score. They just wanted to do something nice, brighten someone's day just a tiny bit. The fact that a bunch of grown adults can't see that is a little bit shocking.
Not to mention, it's absurd to think that if a student is awarded five extra points on one test that they didn't earn, they won't learn the value of hard work. Learning what it means to give and receive kindness is arguably more important.
So kudos to that student for offering up their bonus points. If those five points helped a student's grade, fantastic! We all have days where we need a little boost. It was a lovely, surprising genuine act of kindness that makes me feel like the kids are, in fact, alright.