On March 22, a gunman entered a King’s Sooper grocery store in Boulder, Colorado, killing 10 people, including a police officer. The community was left reeling, and the effects of the event reached outwards to people all over the country.
One of those people who was left feeling terrified to go to any store after the shooting was an 11-year-old boy from the neighboring town of Brighton, CO. His name is JJ Witmer and he knew that if was scared, then the workers and survivors from the King’s Sooper grocery store must feeling even more scared.
“I was scared,” Witmer told CBS NEWS. “I can’t imagine what it would be like to be one of those family members from one of the victims.”
JJ didn’t want to leave these workers to deal with their fear alone, so he spoke with his mom and the two came up with an idea to show them love and support. So the day after the shooting, JJ and his mom visited area grocery stores and handed out about 80 flowers to the workers. The boy shared with CBS NEWS:
“Flowers make people happy and smile. And I just knew that they were going to be a little bit scared to go to work that day, so, that’s why I decided to hand out flowers.”
His thoughtful gesture had a huge impact on both the workers, and on himself. The reactions from the workers were overwhelmingly positive, as the received the gift of kindness and appreciation from this big-hearted boy. Many of the workers even teared up and cried when approached by young JJ.
“There’s this one woman in the bagging area and I gave her a rose. And she just started crying and giving me hugs, and it started to make me tear up,” he said. “It was, I think, my best reaction that I received.”
The positive response he received has left him hopeful that other will find small ways to show love and support for their community.
“Take action. Don’t think about doing it – do it,” he said. “At first I was a little bit hesitant about doing it, because I wasn’t sure about the reaction I was going to get. But after a few, then that’s what really got me going. So, just take action.”