A small gesture of kindness can go a long way, as two local college students recently discovered.
Krysti Jolley, 18, is a student at Montcalm Community College (MCC) who one day hopes to become a veterinarian, but in the meantime, she continues to take her mandatory classes and work on the side to eventually pay off her financial aid.
It was just this past November, as Jolley was working a late shift at her job at Subway in Carson City as she noticed one of her coworkers was having a rough evening.
She soon discovered her coworker was troubled because the electricity to her home was about to be disconnected, as she didn’t have enough money to pay her bills.
Completely down on her luck, Jolley’s coworker asked her if there was anything she could spare to help her.
“She was almost in tears because her power was going to be shut off,” Jolley said. “She has two little boys at home and she’s never asked anyone for money before.”
Jolley said she’s not exactly sure what compelled her to do what she did next, but she gave her coworker her entire paycheck to help her pay her bills.
“She started crying and called me her guardian angel,” Jolley said. “It just really made me happy. I’ve never done anything like that before and it really made me feel like a better person. I had been saving up, I don’t really know what I was saving up for, maybe I was saving up for that.”
In Greenville, just around the same time before Thanksgiving, another MCC Student, Carley Kellum, 18, was waiting with a friend to pay for a few items at Meijer when she noticed a desperate look on the gentleman standing in line before her.
As it turns out, he didn’t have enough money to pay for his groceries, which Kellum said included a turkey and other items that were surely meant for a Thanksgiving meal.
“You could just tell, he had that look on that face that he couldn’t bring his dinner home,” Kellum said.
Kellum said she then stepped forward and told the cashier she would pay for his groceries.
“He had tears in his eyes and he told me I didn’t have to do that,” Kellum said. “He just stood there while she was ringing him up, in awe.”
Both Jolley and Kellum are in their first year at MCC, and could easily have used that money to pay for books for their next semester, or perhaps pay off some of their first-year debt.
But both decided to think of others, and use that money to pay it forward.
“It’s definitely not easy, but the feeling that it gave me was worth it,” Kellum said. “I just hope that other people will do the same thing, maybe be inspired to pay it forward. I didn’t do it to get a pat on the back. This world is hard enough. Sometimes that little handout is all it takes to make a difference.”
Jolley said she too hopes people only look at her actions and choose to follow in her footsteps.
“Just think of their situation and put yourself where they are at,” Jolley said. “If you had somebody who could do that for you, how would that make you feel?”