Every once in a while, the Internet lights up over a random act of kindness story that sets off a wave of smiles and — hopefully — inspires others to take action themselves. One such act of kindness that took place on December 27 has left Twitter users everywhere in tears. And believe it or not, it all started with a birthday cake …
Just two days after Christmas, Kyle Jauregui posted a now-viral tweet to his Twitter account. It features three images: his little sister on her birthday, her birthday cake, and a handwritten card.
“So today is my sister’s birthday and when we went to pick up her cake someone had already paid for it,” his caption reads. “It was left with this card … my family was speechless and we just want to say thank you to McKenna’s mom and wish McKenna a Happy Birthday. There’s still good in this world.”
The story behind the image, however, will blow your mind and wring out your heart.
It turns out, Ashley Jodell is the mom behind the birthday cake. Every year, in honor of her late daughter McKenna, Jodell buys a birthday cake for a stranger. This year, that stranger happened to be Jauregui’s little sister.
When McKenna was just 9 months old, she passed away after a television set tragically fell on top of her. The incident set off a life-long campaign for Jodell to raise awareness about furniture safety and why it’s so important for parents to secure all furniture to walls and floors so that they won’t live through the same tragedy.
“McKenna was the love of my life and so full of life,” Jodell tells Babble. “She was observant and curious about everything and would take in the world around her. She was always so full of pure joy and smiling all the time, barely crying. She would not cry when she would wake up in the morning. Would lay there and babble in her crib or put her thumb in her mouth and quietly lay there. I would lay there and listen to her because it was the best alarm clock. I always described her as an old soul because she was unlike any baby I knew.”
McKenna’s mom, who clearly has a big heart and an innate urge to help others, has made it her mission to educate the world about the things she didn’t know.
“Life can change in an instant,” she says. “It only takes seconds for a child to be killed from something that is preventable and inexpensive to do.”
Jodell explains that most parents don’t realize the dangers that in their homes and it’s not until tragedy hits someone they know that a tragic accident like a child being killed from falling furniture grabs their attention enough to make changes at home.
“I have had countless friends tell me that after hearing our story they went out and secured their furnitures and televisions,” she tells Babble. “Or near misses and if it wasn’t secure the outcome would have been different. Most don’t want to think it could/would happen to them but it can. Accidents and child death can happen to anyone at anytime and if our story saves even just one life I will continue to share.”
This year, McKenna would have turned 10 years old, and her mom couldn’t let it go uncelebrated.
“I wanted to do something big for McKenna’s 10th birthday and I was planning a trip to Disneyland because 10 is a big milestone birthday and I had never been,” she says. “Because of life circumstances I was unable to pull it off. All I could do was my usual random act of kindness cake. Well this became bigger than I could have ever imagined and ended up being a big 10th birthday after all.”
For Jodell, passing on kindness has become a focal point of living. One that gets her through each and every day with a sense of purpose.
“I feel like we need to get back to what life is all about and what really matters — love and kindness,” Jodell shares. “Kindness and love do not need to cost anything. Holding the door open for someone, cleaning up a yard for someone who is elderly, or leaving a note for someone telling them they matter. You have no idea what they are going through and what that kindness could mean for them. With the way the world has been lately, a little more kindness and love are needed.”
Happy Birthday, McKenna. And may this amazing story be a great reminder for parents everywhere to take a closer look at the safety hazards in their homes, as well as the incredible power that lies in a little simple love and kindness.