Most days, the news is riddled with depressing insanity that has me reaching for the remote control to change the channel to reality TV or Law and Order reruns. But every so often, there’s a story so heartwarming and uplifting that it makes me stop everything and appreciate the generosity and kindness of some of my planetary roommates.
Today, it was the story of an 8-year-old girl who had been saving up for four years to buy a bicycle. Anupriya, a second grader in Villupuram, India, has spent half of her life putting away her pocket money in five separate piggy banks with the dream of one day cycling around the city.
She started when her father taught her the importance of saving four years ago, which prompted Anupriya to immediately start collecting RS 5 coins and putting them away in her piggy banks. She continued steadfast until she had acquired a tidy sum of RS 9,000 (around $130), which she had intended to use to buy herself a new bicycle.
But just as she was nearing her goal of purchasing a bike, Anupriya heard about the unprecedented floods that were devastating her neighboring state of Kerala, which borders her home state of Tamil Nadu. Upon watching the news and seeing images of the devastation, Anupriya began asking her father about the floods.
After she learned about the situation — nearly 370 people have been confirmed dead and countless others are living without basic necessities — her decision was clear.
Anupriya broke into her five piggy banks (and even the one that belonged to her younger brother), carefully counted out her savings and gave them all to her father, with the instruction that she wanted her money to be donated to help the flood victims.
I don't know about you guys, but as a bratty 8-year-old, I'm not sure a news story would prompt me to relinquish the dream of a bike I'm so close to achieving. Which is probably why the altruistic gesture of this generous child is making headlines around the world.
Anupriya told The New Indian Express, “I saw the people suffering in the floods in Kerala. So I asked my father to give all the money I had saved in my piggy banks to them.” She had a total of Rs. 8.846 which her father rounded off to a clean Rs. 9,000.
Naive Anupriya sweetly thought that her savings alone would be enough to cover the entire flood relief. After all, there was half a lifetime of savings in there! But when her father explained the immensity of the natural catastrophe, Anupriya decided she would put the money toward the state's official relief fund, which you can also donate to here.
Remarkably, the story doesn’t end there. While word of selfless Anupriya began to spread, it miraculously reached the ears of Pankaj M. Munjal. The Chairman and Managing Director of Hero Cycles heard about the charitable donation of the 8-year-old and decided to reward her sacrifice.
He repaid her generosity by giving her the one thing she's wanted since the tender age of four: a bicycle.
In fact, he gave her more than just one bicycle. Pankaj handed her a certificate entitling her to a new bike for every year of her life. He tweeted, "Anupriya, parnam to you. You are a noble soul and wish you spread the good around. Hero is too pleased to give you one bike every year of your life."
He shared this photo of Anupriya on her new bicycle (how cute are the training wheels!), with her proud parents glowing behind her. The Hero Cycles head wrote, "Thanks to you dear Anupriya and pleasure to talk to your mom. I had read every act of kindness has a ripple effect. Through you I experienced, 'Some acts of kindness may bring an avalanche.' You are truly blessed and keep up this character of strength that you carry."
Let's all channel Anupriya and her generosity today.