A very sweet story
From today's Tallahassee Democrat. I applaud you Brian Leichus.
Brunch- Basil's Blog
Brian Leichus didn't think he'd win the free shopping spree at the Build-A-Bear Workshop in Destin.
Although he loves playing with stuffed toys, especially a favorite elf toy he's had for years, Brian's initial excitement over winning melted away.
His thoughts were on the images of devastation in New Orleans caused by Hurricane Katrina.
"I felt guilty because other people in the world didn't have anything," said Brian, a fourth-grade student at Maclay School.
Instead of adding more toys to his menagerie of stuffed animals, 9-year-old Brian wants to donate them to evacuee children who came to Tallahassee after the storm.
Saturday, Brian was given 45 seconds to grab all the toys he could fit in a large box. He decided to ask his best friend, Mohammad Afsh, to come along.
The Build-A-Bear Workshop allows children to be a part of the toy's process from start to finish. Children choose the color, the stuffing and the toy's name.
"I wish we had unlimited time and an unlimited box so I could help all the children (affected by Hurricane Katrina)," Brian said, with a big smile on his face.
"Yeah, just grab the whole store!" 9-year-old Mohammad chimed in and threw his arms in the air.
Betty Leichus, Brian's mother, said she was surprised how much of an impact the hurricane had on her youngest son. She said he saw a picture in the Democrat of a father sifting through what was left of his house. The father held a muddied, tattered teddy bear that belonged to his child.
Leichus, who serves on the Board of Directors for the American Red Cross, remembered Brian saying he felt guilty about winning the contest because he "didn't do anything to get it."
"It was one of those mom moments. I was really proud," Leichus said. "He really did surprise me. I thought it was a really nice gesture."
Mohammad, who has been Brian's best friend for eight years, said he's crazy about giraffes, and he would cry for days if he lost one of his stuffed animals. That's why he wants to help children who lost their favorite toys.
"Those kids are less fortunate then us. I wouldn't want them to forget how they lived. You don't want them to have bad things. I want them to be able to have good things to play with," Mohammad said.