This little boy is a neighbor of ours. He’s about 7 years old and lives in an old barn/warehouse that doubles a a sort of make-shift auction house. He’s a happy kid who likes to ride his bike with the other kids here in our neighborhood and who loves helping others out whenever he can. In fact, he was helping me with a photo shoot when I managed to snap this photo of him under the pretense of needing a test subject to help me get the photo set up right. He tells me that his jacket is the only one he’s really had since “the first time [he] was in the first grade.”

I had taken other photos of the boy along with some of his friends and decided that I would put together some nice prints of the pictures I’d made and present them to all the boys’ families. We had a great time doing “superhero” and “kung fu” and “looking cool dude” poses and I came away with some of my very favorite images ever.

I’m not the kind of person to wait around to see people’s reactions to gifts. I feel it’s more important to give and leave people to appreciate things in their own time and in their own way and to go about my business and await my rewards from Heaven. So, I wasn’t there when the boy’s mother opened the package I gave her, and I didn’t see the tears in her eyes. I couldn’t have ever known, just from knowing the boy since we moved here, that the family had suffered through a flood that destroyed all the photos the family had of the boy, baby pictures and all. I only came to know these things because they shared these things with my wife afterwards.

The mother says that she likes this particular photo because she feels it captures the real spirit and nature of the boy.

With his last five dollars, the boy’s father wanted to get his wife something special for Christmas. She took the money and went into town and bought some frames at a dollar store for the photos we’d given her. It was all she wanted.