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5-year-old boy works to brighten strangers' days in South Bend

5-year-old boy radiates smiles in South Bend with random acts of kindness. // WSBT 22 photo

We all know how a random act of kindness can brighten up a day. For a 5-year-old South Bend boy, performing those acts brightens up his day.

Whoever said chivalry is dead hasn't met Tanner Clark.

It's busy during lunchtime at Martin's Side Door Deli. It’s filled with people grabbing their food and getting a quick bite to eat.

Though tucked in a corner table, you'll find a pair that's not caught up in a rush. They're just simply enjoying each other's company.

Melissa Clark and her son Tanner go to the Martin's Deli on Ireland Road about four times a month.

"We come here for lunch about once a week or something like that,” said Melissa.

One of those times, after Tanner was finishing up his normal order of grilled cheese, his mom saw a group of older women.

"I’m raising him the best I can to be a gentleman and want to instill that into him now, and so I just simply asked him. I said, ‘Do you want to buy those ladies flowers?" said Melissa.

Tanner said 'yes,' and after that he was hooked on kindness.

"I just want to put, a boy or a girl, a smile on their face,” said Tanner.

Now, it's a routine. He goes to the floral department and picks out a bouquet of his favorite flowers, carnations.

“I get all kinds of different colors,” said Tanner.

He walks the flowers to the deli and buys them. Then, he hands them out to anyone he thinks might need it that day.

"We've seen people that are may be widowed, or just sitting here by themselves having a cup of coffee, he walks up and gives them a flower and they just radiate. Their whole dynamic changes,” said Melissa.

Tanner's made quite a name for himself at Martin's, workers know him as the flower boy.

"He's the cutest. It just makes everybody's day when he comes in here and surprises them with a sweet little flower,” said Siara Simon, cashier at Martin's.

Though Melissa knows him as her little boy. A boy she says she's trying to raise who radiates love in a world that can sometimes be filled with hate.

"I want him to be that little beacon of energy, of happiness. I'm trying to allow who he is as a person to grow and just really flourish,” said Melissa.

Growing, just like a flower, one smile at a time.

Tanner says he's going to continue to give out flowers for as long as he can.


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