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A shot at kindness: One basket, and now we’re friends

Kidsday reporters Mir Sultani, left, and Joseph Hess

Kidsday reporters Mir Sultani, left, and Joseph Hess became friends thanks to a stuffed banana at Adventureland in Farmingdale. Credit: Caroline Kind

We had never met each other, but our sixth-grade class field trip to Adventureland in Farmingdale last year created a lasting bond between us.

Here is Joe’s version: I’ll never forget the best act of kindness that anyone has done for me! What I wanted most was to win a giant banana stuffed toy, complete with hat and Rasta hair — it was almost as big as me. I tried to win it — I tried six times to make the basket at the basketball game. I spent all my money ($30 that my mom had given me) and still couldn’t win. I was really sad. But then in an act of kindness, Mir stepped up, aimed and sank the shot! He gave me the banana! I was amazed at his generosity.

Mir said: I saw most of the rides at the park and my fear of roller coasters took over. I calmed down when I saw there were lots of games such as ring toss and basketball. I also went on some water rides. Then I saw this basketball game that if you made the basket, you win a prize. I love basketball.

I went over and played the $5 ones and missed all the shots. I also saw my teacher, Mrs. Caroline Kind, shooting, and I thought she was trying to win a prize for her kids. She was struggling because those were very high hoops. I went to try and I made the shot. Mrs. Kind asked me to get the banana, and I was happy to do it. It shocked me when she gave me money to reimburse me; I tried to refuse, but she refused too. I was walking to the next ride. She came up to me and said, “Thank you for getting that banana for my student.”

That’s when I realized it was a student, not Mrs. Kind’s sons, who wanted the prize. She asked me if I would take a picture with him. I walked with Mrs. Kind and met Joe. Joe is famous in Salk for making a backward shot during halftime at a basketball game. I remembered him from the video that we all saw. We took a picture and went on a couple of rides together.

To this day I will never forget that smile wider than ever on Joe’s face, and we have been friends ever since.

Sue Casey, Debbie Dombrowski, Heather Mason and Kerstin Murphy’s seventh- and eighth-grade students, Jonas E. Salk Middle School, Levittown

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