Good Neighbors

The Ripple Effect Of One Man's Small Act Of Kindness

Little did he know his off-the-cuff move would put the town on a kindness kick.

At Sparkt we talk a lot about how even the smallest act of kindness can have a ripple effect in a whole community. That's what happened when a high school senior in Mount Vernon, OH decided to make up the difference when his customer at the local Taco Bell didn't have enough to cover their whole order.

Owen Baughman was ringing up a customer at the restaurant on a recent afternoon. "I was counting and realized that she didn't have enough," Baughman told FOX Columbus. "So I went ahead and just offered to pay for it."

Nice thing to do right? End of story, right?

Not this time. Little did Baughman know that Teri Brenkus, the mayor of nearby Bellville, was also in line to buy lunch. She saw what he did. She says she joked "you keep that up and your wallet is going to be empty," and he replied, "That's okay, I like to help people when I can."

Brenkus was so struck by the experience she returned to the restaurant to talk to Baughman and explained the effect his random act of kindness had on her. Then she took a selfie with the young man and posted it to Facebook. It has more than 4K likes and 320 comments, some of them giving props to other kind fast food workers in town!

Mayor Brenktu Facebook

"After it went on Facebook and after people started sharing and liking it, I was getting calls," and texts Baughman told FOX. People reported to Baughman and Brenkus that the simple act sparked them to do acts of kindness themselves.

"It was a really great feeling just to know I could do that for people."

Baughman hopes to attend Bellarmine University in Louisville, KY this fall, majoring in either bio-chemistry or philosophy, with a minor in psychology. He wants to be a teacher. As for the attention over his act of kindness, Baughman is humble. His advice to others? "Always be kind."

How can you start something good?

An act of kindness can cost a few bucks -- or it can be free. But you have to do it in order for it to have a ripple effect! Imagine what a great place our world would be if everyone took Owen Baughman's wise words to heart and did something kind for someone today. Why not you?

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