It’s “Tuesday Newsday,” the day when Dean Burnetti Law brings you news of recalls, legal or political events, other important happenings, or just uplifting stories that make your heart smile…
Happy Tuesday Newsday, friends! Today we’re going to take you on a 40-year-long journey to show you how one small act of kindness meant the world – and changed the world – for the recipient.
Forty-two years ago in 1979, five-year-old Nhung Tran stepped off an airplane in Edmonton, Canada. But her life hadn’t always been as luxurious as it was on that plane. In fact, none of it was. Nhung’s life started in war-torn Vietnam where the family (including her mother and five siblings) lost everything they owned. Every single thing.
Prior to their arrival in the airport that day, they spent 8 months in a Malaysian refugee camp before they got the great news that a church in Alberta, Canada wanted to sponsor them to immigrate to Canada.
Nhung vividly recalls the trip on the wooden fishing boat for that the refugees took from Vietnam to Malaysia … “Being four years old having gone from war and poverty, we had lost everything, so being cramped up in a boat with a boat with 300 other refugees in the belly of the boat I can only remember how nauseating and suffocating it was. People were throwing up where they were sitting … defecating where they were, it was just a horrible experience.”
But when Nhung’s family passed through the gates of the airport in Canada, a little girl named Adrienne was waiting for them. Her eyes locked with Nhung’s and she immediately presented frightened little Nhung with a doll.
Nhung recalled, “This little girl presented a little gift … this doll lit up my heart and, in that moment, it meant everything to me. The doll came to symbolize for me all the kindness, compassion, and generosity of Canadians and I knew that our lives would change forever.”
The doll also marked the start of what became a life-long friendship between Nhung and Adrienne, who to this day are still close.
The small gesture of giving a doll, from one little girl to another, created a ripple effect that inspired Nhung to become a doctor so she could pay it forward by helping others.
In fact, Nhung recently paid it forward in the most magnanimous way by sponsoring a refugee family who was fleeing the Syrian war. She said, “At the height of the Syrian war and seeing all the images of people fleeing across the sea and thousands perishing at sea, it just reminded me the journey that our family made as boat people. It was heart-wrenching to see children suffering in these camps. I just felt compelled by these images.”
When the family she sponsored arrived at the airport, Nhung was prepared. She stood at the gates with a doll to present to the family’s youngest daughter, Alma. Nhung recalled, “It was my turn now, 40 years later, to be standing at the gates to give little Alma a doll. It was just an amazing, important moment for myself, but I think it meant something to her because I know that in 40 years it will be her turn to make Canada a more beautiful place.”
The experience of coming full circle also inspired Dr. Nhung Tran-Davies to write a children’s book entitled “The Doll.” The book details her experience in receiving her own doll from Adrienne as well as her own gift of a doll to Alma. And it reminds people how the ripple effect from one single act of kindness can reverberate for years to come and the ripples can literally touch the lives of thousands.
Now, our question to you, dear reader, is: what will you do today that will touch the life of someone else?