Twelve-year-old Noah Aquino was captivated by how the elderly woman rubbed the colorful winter socks against her face as he overheard her say they were smooth and warm on her skin.
The Ocean Shores Elementary School sixth-grader was shopping with his mother at Rite Aid in Aberdeen two weeks ago when he encountered the woman looking at the socks. He suggested that she buy them for herself. She checked the price and said they were too much.
A short time later, Noah’s mother, Kristin Farris, thought it was odd when she discovered Noah had placed the socks in her basket, along with a Christmas tree-shaped candy selection. Noah then gave them to the woman he’d just met.
And Kristin thought it was stranger still last week when a reporter contacted her about it, tracking her down by phone while she and Noah were on their way to Denver for Christmas vacation.
The North Coast News was able to reach Noah and Kristin to verify the story what the elderly woman, Lois Clark, had said in a letter to The Daily World. She had been touched by the kindness of such a young person she had never met before. She knew only that the boy’s name was Noah and that he was from Ocean Shores in sixth grade.
Ocean Shores Elementary Principal Rhonda Ham was given a copy of the letter and immediately knew the boy it referred to, since Noah had a history of doing kind things for others. Ham helped the newspaper make a connection with Noah and his mother.
“We were in town to go to Casa Mia, and we ended up at the Rite Aid, and I don’t even remember what for,” Kristin said. “We were picking up some things, and then Noah came up to me and pointed out the woman. He started talking about her and these socks, and then he came back and put the socks in my basket. He said, ‘Can we get these?’ And I said, ‘For what?’ He just insisted, and then put them in the basket. So I just kept going.”
As she shopped for some things for herself, Noah pointed out the woman — who, Kristin said, was probably as tall as her son, standing about 5-foot-2.
The woman reminded Noah of his grandmother, Kristin added, and he told her that he wanted to buy the items to give to her for Christmas. “He just loves his grandma,” she said. “He’s always doing everything for her. And I could see he had tears in his eyes.”
He said, “Mom, can we just get these things for her?”
The socks cost about $8, and Noah was moved by the way the woman was looking at them when he first saw her in the store.
“I was walking over and she was looking at these socks, feeling them on her face, and then I told her she should buy them,” Noah said. “She said they were too expensive, and that’s why I wanted to get them for her. So when she walked away, I grabbed them and put them in my mom’s basket.”
The woman was stunned and “just so thankful,” he said, when he ran up to her outside the store to give her the gifts with an extra surprise.
At Ocean Shores Elementary, Noah is known for his determination to help his community.
“He is an amazing young man,” Ham said of her student. “Earlier this year, he had a fundraiser of his own and raised over $200, which he donated back to the school. This story brought tears to my eyes.”
That earlier fundraiser consisted of Noah hosting a movie screening at the Shilo Inn in Ocean Shores, with popcorn, snacks and soda. The proceeds went back to the school to help purchase new playfield equipment.
“He wanted to do his own thing, and it all came together on the fly in the last minute. We raised $218 when it was all said and done,” Kristin said.
The gift to Lois Clark, however, was never intended to be anything but a small act of kindness.
“If I do something for somebody, I don’t make a huge deal about it, so it’s hard for me to put it into words,” Kristin noted when asked about her son’s initiative. “He just wants to take care of people, so I just let him do it, and I help him to do that, too.”