Emma Weinheimer: It was just another Monday. I was sluggish from the weekend, I had a couple little things that I finished up, and Spanish class, though fun, had exhausted me yet again. But on this particular day, in the thick of pollen season, my allergies were killing me and I had a headache. Plus, I was stressing out that I was only in week 9 of Chemistry when I was in week 11 of everything else. When I got home, I was happy to see everyone, but my headache gradually got a little worse. When it was time to get ready for karate, I dragged myself upstairs and immediately started yelling at my sister Grace. I knew that how I was acting was wrong; she hadn't done anything to upset me. But as I tried to apologize, snappy sentences continued to somersault out of my mouth. Grace finally stomped out and I just sat down against my dresser, cried for about two seconds, and then watched my watch tick... tick... tick. I wasn't trying to be dramatic but I just felt like I needed to have a good sob. My head still hurt behind my eyes. I heard footsteps coming up the stairs. My sour expression didn't go away, but I braced myself for my brother to come bursting in to scare me. Instead, it was Grace. She isn't really the type of person who loves, even likes, to be hugged. She really likes to have her personal space and gets irritated if it is invaded. But she sat down, put her arm around me and said “I love you.”
Fatima Az-Zahraa Dadou: A random act of kindness that I have always remembered and truly touched me was during our trip returning from the U.S. to Algeria. The plane we take lands in Algiers, the capital of Algeria, which is a 10 hour drive from Na'ama, the state we live in. It was an extremely hot August day and this time in our trip we had a 2 month old baby sister with us. Each of us were totally exhausted from the long trip. As my dad and our chauffeur loaded our baggage into the car, the rest of us climbed into the car, excited that we would soon be with our family again and most of all our precious grandmother! After about 2 hours on the highway, my siblings and I began to fall asleep when we were suddenly startled by a loud "POP!" The chauffeur swerved and pulled over, slamming his brakes. As he checked what was wrong with his tire, he found the tire had popped and was completely flat now. We were now stuck in the middle of a busy highway and an hour away from the next city. We scrambled out of the car and sat underneath the shade of a tree seeking shelter from the hot sun. My dad and the chauffeur discussed what we could do. There wasn't many options ahead of us. Algiers was 2 hours away and the next city an hour away. It would be nearly impossible to walk to it. We couldn't get a taxi in the middle of nowhere either. I was beginning to feel pretty hopeless when a man with a small car pulled over and asked my Dad if he could help us with anything. My Dad asked him if he could take our chauffeur to the next city to buy a new tire and then he could find a ride back from there. Without hesitating he agreed and said he didn't want to get paid for his job. This stranger took our chauffeur to the city, helped him buy the tire, bought us cold water, and brought him back for free. As much as my dad insisted to pay him, he swore he wouldn't take a dinar and all he wanted was for us to keep him in his prayers. He wished us a safe trip and drove away. Although this happened years ago, I have never forgotten his kindness and how helpful he was to people he had never met before. I was so touched by this beautiful act of kindness and remembering the story still brings a smile to my face.