This story has lingered in my thoughts since I read about it last week. Maybe that’s because it’s not the first time I heard about Tinney Davidson, a woman in her 80s living in Comox Valley, British Columbia.
The place she lives is relevant, because it happens to be located on a major walk-to-school route, teeming with teens.
Tinney moved here nine years ago. And while it’s normal to get into a routine after settling into a new home, for most of us it looks like this: laundry every Monday, garbage curbside every Thursday, and perhaps a visit to the mailbox each weekday afternoon. For Tinney, the daily routine involves sitting at the window three times a day, distributing enthusiastic waves and gregarious smiles to the packs of students on their way to and from the local Highland Secondary School.
Believe me, these kids give right back. They’re completely accustomed to catching Tinney’s eye, grinning and raising a hand as they pass by her house. They like it. “She’s just one of those people who’s, like, pumping everyone’s attitude up,” one student explained to a local television station in 2014. Said another: “It makes everyone’s day a little bit brighter.”
That was the year the teens first organized a surprise Valentine’s Day celebration in Tinney’s honour, to recognize the love that flows between them. They invited her to an assembly, presented her with valentine cards, and showed a compilation video of boys and girls saying thanks. “I’m overwhelmed by all this. It’s just wonderful,” an emotional Tinney said at the time.
The TV news segment went viral.
This year, on Valentine’s Day, the students outdid themselves. Instead of passing by Tinney’s house in the morning, 70 kids gathered in her front yard, decorated her lawn with handmade hearts, and waited around to give her cookies, hand-written valentines – and warm hugs.
“They’re just wonderful children. They just make me feel so good,” Tinney told a reporter. “I think I’m just the luckiest lady alive… I have so much joy from them.”