ROME, Ga. (AP) — After Lindsey Johnson watched a promotional video for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in class at Pepperell Elementary School, the 11-year-old went home in tears.
"She had seen the video and came home crying," said Lindsey's mother, Trisha Johnson.
Lindsey, she said, had been saving up her allowance and Christmas money and was planning to buy herself an iPad. But after seeing the video, the thin, electronic tablet seemed meaningless in comparison to the children at St. Jude.
"She'd been saving money for a while and it was in cash and pennies," Johnson said. "She wanted to donate it."
Lindsey's teacher, Judy Roebuck, said her fifth grade students were participating in the St. Jude's Math-A-Thon, a program that includes a free math curriculum for students to compete in after obtaining sponsorships from family and friends. Students ask family and friends for pledges to solve math problems from a workbook and all funds go to St. Jude.
At Pepperell Elementary, 15 gifted students participated and raised $1,124.
"We had made a goal for the group and it was $1,000," Roebuck said. "I was telling the class how close we were to the goal. Some of kids had $50 or $80 and her little hand went up and she said, 'I have about $265.'"
At first, Roebuck said she thought Lindsey meant she had that much from Math-A-Thon pledges.
"And I said 'You must have talked to a lot of people, you must have really gone after it,' and she said, "Not really. I have been saving money to get an iPad, but I asked my mom if, instead, I could donate the money I had saved to St. Jude's."
The moment Lindsey told Roebuck where the money was coming from, the Kaleidoscope teacher started tearing up.
"I started crying," she said. "What a generous, selfless act this was. I don't know of any adult who would have given everything. They might have given part, but she gave it all."
Roebuck felt compelled to have Lindsey's story heard. 11Alive News along with representatives from appliance and electronics company h.h.gregg visited Lindsey's school on Monday to give her a Random Act of Kindness.
"We raised money for St. Jude's," Lindsey told her visitors, "Our teacher showed us a video of that and it just, I don't know, made me want to donate money to them. So we collected some money for them. ... They take in sick kids for free and they need money to get medicines."
Linda Lamb, regional manager of h.h.gregg, presented Lindsey with her very own iPad complete with a pink case. When Lindsey took the iPad from Lamb, she began to cry and applause exploded from her classmates.
"We just thought it was a fantastic opportunity," Lamb said. "You hear of young people doing great things every day and we just thought it was a fantastic opportunity to support that."
Lindsey's mother said compassion is just a part of her daughter's nature.
"She's really thoughtful and is always worried about other people in her class and her friends," she said. "She said she didn't need an iPad if there was children in the hospital. she wanted to give the money to the kids."