Wisconsin’s Waylon Klitzman was unhappy to learn his favorite teacher at Evansville High School was leaving the profession to dedicate her time to Beat Nb, a nonprofit working to cure neuroblastoma.
The teacher, Kim Katzenmeyer, announced the decision this spring after her niece was diagnosed with the disease just days before her fourth birthday.
Initially, Klitzman offered “Miss K” all the money he had - $52 – to change her mind and remain in the classroom. But when that didn’t work he concocted another plan to raise money for Beat Nb that ultimately took in more than $10,000 for the cause in just one hour.
The Washington Post reports:
The day after Katzenmeyer announced her departure, Klitzman marched in and laid $52 in cash in her hands. It was all he had left from his purchase of two pigs earlier that spring. Klitzman had bought the pigs as part of his involvement with the Evansville chapter of 4-H, a national youth organization that teaches leadership in part through agricultural work.
He originally planned to sell the pigs for meat — and for a profit — at the county fair in July.
Klitzman hoped his money, offered as a donation to Beat Nb, would be enough to induce Katzenmeyer to stay. She was touched, but it didn’t change her mind.
Klitzman, though, wasn’t done. He lost a teacher, but he found a cause.
He also had a plan: sell Roo – the 265-pound pig he spent months raising for the fair – and donate the proceeds to Beat Nb. He reached out to several potential buyers to explain the situation in hopes of driving up the price from the typical $3 to $5 per pound, but the response was not exactly what he expected.
“When the bidding kicked off, the price jumped to $11 – but then one of the bidders, Dan Drozdowicz, had an idea and struck a deal with his competition,” the Good News Network reports. “He won the bidding on the pig – then he donated it back to be auctioned again. The second bidder bought it for $10 a pound – then he gave it back, too.
“Finally, a third competitor, Dave Moll, was free to buy – then, he, too, unexpectedly donated the pig back – for a third time,” according to the site.
“I had … no intention of spending that much money or giving the pig back,” said Moll, who owns the construction company that employs Klitzman’s father. “But that’s what the people ahead of me did, and I felt like it was the right thing to do, so I did.”
Roo was bought a fourth time by a pork producer for $5.50 per pound, bringing in a total raised for Beat Nb to $10,070.
“I did not see that happening,” Klitzman told the Post. “Usually, they just sell it once! My dream got bigger and bigger every time they said, ‘Give it back.’”
Miss K, of course, was more than grateful for his efforts.
“I am bursting, my heart is bursting with pride for him,” she said. “He doesn’t know the impact that he is having … Someday he will.”
James Davison Hunter, founder of the Institute of Advanced Studies in Culture, highlighted the importance of practicing kindness to develop strong character in his book “The Death of Character.”
“It is through experience that students participate in moral community and practice moral action,” Hunter wrote. “Experience is always a precursor to the possession of character and practical wisdom.”
The website Kindness.org offers a variety of ways both kids and adults can practice kindness in their everyday lives, from “Ideas for your first act,” to “Summer kind act ideas” and ways to “Carry out a random act of kindness.”
The site also offers ideas for “Digital acts of kindness” to help “cultivate a kinder world online.”