An 11-year-old boy in El Paso, Texas, was struggling with anxiety after the mass shooting of dozens of people in his hometown on Saturday.
After a discussion with his mother, Ruben Martinez III decided to create the #ElPasoChallenge to inject some kindness and care back into his community.
“Purpose: To honor the people who got killed in our city,” his handwritten note says, which his mother posted with his photo Sunday night on Facebook.
“How: I’ll challenge each person in El Paso to do 20 good deeds for each other.”
The idea was to do one act of kindness for each person who died at the Walmart shooting. (Since the challenge started, the death toll has risen to 22 after two victims died at the hospital.)
Ruben provided some touching examples of how one might perform a random act of kindness.
“Examples: mow someone’s lawn, visit a nursing home, pay for someone’s lunch or dinner, donate to families in need, write someone a letter and tell them how great they are, hold the door for everyone, comfort someone when they are sad or stressed, take flowers to someone in the hospital, leave a dollar on the vending machine for the next person, and any other random act of kindness.”
He suggested he would convince people to participate by putting up posters, putting out fliers and “send it to Facebook.”
Ruben’s father, Ruben Martinez Jr., told HuffPost that the family had been flooded with messages since posting his boy’s challenge.
“He has such a beautiful heart,” Martinez Jr. said. “I’m so proud of him.”
Chris Castaneda, who lives in El Paso, according to his Facebook profile, shared a post Sunday saying the “courageous young man” had approached them at Taco Bell and challenged them.
Martinez’s mother’s Facebook post has been shared more than 2,400 times, with hundreds of people from all over the country accepting the challenge.