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Avon Lake lunch lady finds an 'a-peeling' way to spread kindness

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Posted at 4:48 PM, May 25, 2022

AVON LAKE, Ohio — There are a bunch of ways we can help spread kindness and spark smiles.

One school employee in Avon Lake is using an a-peeling way to brighten the day of her students.

Sitting on milk crates inside the kitchen at Troy Intermediate School, cook Tammie Johnson uses a black marker to write inspirational messages on bananas handed out to students at lunch.

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“[They] come in here, they see the bananas, they automatically light up, it just gives them that little bit of push," said Johnson.

Johnson uses her own time to make sure each piece of fruit offers encouragement.

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Johnson said some of the messages she writes include "spread kindness, be kind, sparkle and shine, you're beautiful, you are loved."

Each week, 160 bananas packed with potassium and positivity are served up to students like Colbie Franks.

"I think it's very sweet that someone would go out of their way to make us feel better, and if someone is having a bad day it just kind of boosts them up a bit and makes them feel happy about themselves," said Franks.

The group of sixth-graders we caught up with in the cafeteria said they always look forward to the bright yellow boost.

"Sometimes I can be negative in the mornings and once I get like a banana it makes my day better," said sixth-grade student Lauren Post.

Among the bunch of beautiful reminders to smile and have a great day, there's one banana that gets top billing.

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"The golden ticket! See the lunch lady," said Johnson.

If a student snags that one, they get a free snack of their choice, with Johnson picking up the tab.

Why does Johnson undergo this fruitful endeavor?

"I've been driving a bus for 30 years, I've worked with kids since my kids were in pre-school and they're in their forties. I just love kids, I love giving," said Johnson.

Johnson does so much more than serving up fruit and satisfying hunger; she's a reminder that we all can spark positive change, even in the simplest of ways.

"That little banana can change the world, it really can. Everyone needs to slow down, take a breath, and be kind," said Johnson.