A wave and a smile seems such a small thing to offer high school students, but they noticed, and they figured out a way to thank Tinney Davidson. She and her husband Ken moved into a home in Comox, British Columbia, seven years ago. Sitting in the window of their living room, they began to wave at students walking to and from Highland Secondary School.
Elderly people are mostly invisible to teenagers, but these young people found they could not resist returning such friendly smiles and waves. They began watching for the Davidsons as they passed by their house.
Most were content with waving, but a few stopped to introduce themselves. One of them, Ginger Long, brought her a cupcake, and some of the students began visiting.
When Ken died, Tinney continued her daily smile vigil. She also knitted hats, sold them to passersby, and gave the money to the hospital. She began knitting the hats when her granddaughter was going through cancer treatments, hoping they would cheer the girl if she lost her hair. She kept knitting them when her granddaughter survived the cancer, selling them to passersby and donating the money to the hospital.
Students were touched by her warmth and generosity. As Valentine’s Day 2014 neared, one of them said to math teacher Charlotte Hood-Tanner:
Ms. Tanner, there is a really cool lady who lives down the street who sells hats for cancer. What should we do?
They decided to honour the 84-year-old at a school assembly. They made a video for her, painted a banner and made Valentine’s Day cards. They even brought in the chair she always sits in. The teary Davidson was overwhelmed. Her smiles had brightened the day for students passing by her house.
You can see the tears in Davidson’s eyes in the picture Jan Wilderom took to accompany her story about Tinney Davidson. CHEK TV interviewed her and the students she touched. Watching the video will make you believe in the power of small acts of kindness.
One person, one small gesture. The impact is lifelong. The students will remember her friendliness. One day they will pass the story on their children. Some will be inspired to do something for others because of it. It takes so little to have an impact. Tinney Davidson gives me hope.