When Vidor Independent School District substitute bus driver Laurie Smith asked her students to write a short paper on kindness, she never expected to read something that would leave her speechless.
About two weeks ago Smith wrote a message on the bus windows challenging students from Vidor Middle School to say something kind to at least one person.
"The next day I thought how cool would it be to get them to write an essay and tell me their experiences with it, because the cool thing was seeing how good it made them feel about themselves," said Smith.
Smith offered candy and $5 to anyone who turned in a paper the following morning.
5th grader Adrien Green knew she wouldn't be on the bus the next day, so she wrote her essay on the ride home in about ten minutes.
"I thought it would be pretty fun to write an essay about kindness because I've had so much experience with it," said Adrien.
"Had I not seen her write it with my own eyes, sitting right there beside me, behind me, I would have never believed an 11-year-old child had this kind of insight," said Smith.
In her essay, Adrien writes that she believes kindness is the root of all things, and even quotes ancient Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu: "Kindness in words creates confidence, kindness in thinking creates profoundness, kindness in giving creates love".
Smith was so moved by the essay that on Memorial Day she wrote a letter to the editor for The Vidorian newspaper. She said she wanted to share the story with others hoping it would restore some faith in today's young people.
"There's so many people that live a lifetime that never get this, and here this little girl is 11 years old and has such an insight on kindness," Smith said.
Adrien says real kindness is all about how you present yourself.
"Be sure you smile everyday and maybe meet a new friend, and be kind to them also," she said.
Smith gave Adrien $5 and a box of Sweet Tarts, Adrien's favorite candy.