Reporting Nick Janes
LODI (CBS13) – All the money Artem Smal raised from selling newspapers for a trip to Tahoe, he offered up to a complete stranger in need. Now his generosity is being rewarded.
After seeing the CBS13 story about the teenager who surprised a woman with a generous offer that changed her life, some viewers wanted to reward the boy’s generosity.
Smal was going door-to-door selling newspaper subscriptions to earn a trip to Tahoe when he came upon Robynn Fried.
Fried explained she couldn’t afford one — she was about to be homeless. Then — the 14-year-old spontaneously offered her his envelope full of cash. She didn’t take it but his simple gesture meant everything.
“Literally, the day before I’d just given up hope and what he did gave it back, brought it all back,” Fried said.
Fried credits the teen for the job she got a week later, but Smal never got his Tahoe trip, until now.
The unassuming 14-year-old is inspiring people all over the country. Why else would he have a thank-you letter from the East Coast?
“Never underestimate your gift of kindness to others,” the note read.
It came with a little gift wrapped fittingly in a newspaper — $20.
“It’s tight, $20 all the way from New York, just for this?” a surprised Smal said.
Twenty dollars isn’t bad, but it was the next gift from an anonymous viewer that left Smal speechless.
A couple wrote to the CBS13 newsroom with a generous offer of their own: They want to send Smal to Tahoe.
“Wow. No, you’re lying,” said a shocked Smal.
The couple wants to remain completely anonymous, saying this story is about Smal.
“Thank you, thank you,” said Smal.
His surprised smile said it all, and so does his simple philosophy on life.
“Be kind, don’t expect what’s going to happen but I always try to be kind. That’s all,” said Smal.
Smal says he recently saw Fried for the first time since he made his generous offer. They talked about her job and she thanked him for everything.