One day in August 2016 Kevon Smith Sr. thought he had just enjoyed a regular, run-of-the-mill breakfast with his infant son at his local Cracker Barrel store. Little did he know, however, that he had stirred some deep emotion inside two of his fellow diners. So when he returned to his car and saw a note attached to his windscreen, he was in for a big surprise.
By all appearances, though, Ohio-based father Kevon Smith Sr. is a decent guy. Certainly, it seems that the 22-year-old is big into helping out in his local community. He even gave up a paid coaching job to participate as a coach for his local football team.
Of course, Smith also appears to be a dedicated father too. For example, one Sharon Shay Davis-Swanson remarked on Smith’s Facebook page, “You are a wonderful young dad, keep up the good job!” This is echoed in a comment by Celeste Barr, who said, “You’d be surprised by how many people you inspire just by doing what you are born to do.”
So it was, then, that one morning in August 2016, Smith Sr. decided to take his son, Kevon Jr., out for breakfast at Cracker Barrel. For those of you who don’t know, Cracker Barrel is a part-store, part-restaurant that specializes in Southern-style gifts and comfort food.
Smith Sr. got three-month-old Kevon Jr. settled, and they both sat down to eat at the Willoughby-based Cracker Barrel. It wasn’t long, however, before Smith noticed something unusual. In fact, while he was tucking in to his breakfast and keeping Kevon Jr. amused, he realized that he was being watched.
It seems that Smith spotted a friendly-looking elderly couple who kept glancing over at their table. “I noticed this older couple over in the corner,” Smith later told Cleveland 19 News. “They kept smiling at me and I was looking at my son like – what is going on?”
Smith didn’t think much of it and reserved the rest of his attention for his son. Then, after settling his bill and with the older couple gone, Smith walked back out to his car. But when he arrived at his vehicle, he was in for a surprise: there was a note tucked into his windshield.
Curious, Smith took the note and opened it up. It was then that he quickly realized the note had been left by the couple he had noticed looking at him in the restaurant. Fortunately, it turned out that the couple had been deeply moved by Smith’s seemingly innocent actions there.
The note read, in part, “Today your meal is on my wife and me. Enjoy that baby boy as long as God intends.” It continued, “Keep doing what you’re doing,” and it was signed from “The Masons.” The most significant message that the note imparted, however, was, “We need more black dads like you.”
But the note didn’t just contain nice words from a seemingly very nice couple. Why? Because alongside the note the Masons had actually left some cash to pay for Smith’s breakfast. This, then, is an incredible, moving example of the kindness of strangers.
So why did the Masons single out Smith for their kindness? Perhaps it was because of a wider stereotypical perception around single fathers or fatherless children. “There’s a lot of guys I know that aren’t taking care of their kids,” said Smith later. He added, “Some of us are out here being fathers.”
In fact, the 2010 U.S. Census report revealed that, shockingly, 57.6 percent of black children were living in homes without a biological father present. “It’s great for me able to do this and do it the right way, be there for him,” Smith said of his son. “And when he gets older I’ll still be there for him.”
Unsurprisingly, then, when Smith’s story broke online it received a lot of attention. And as well as getting a lot of love on social media and online, his story was even discussed on the local news.
Indeed, in less than a month since the story broke, there’s no sign of the attention slowing down. And needless to say, Smith has been pretty blown away by the response.
“It’s crazy my son is famous at four months,” wrote Smith on his Facebook page in early September 2016. “Lady in Walmart asked to take a picture with him. People recognize us out in public. That’s wild!”
Still, Smith himself has also been completely inspired by the incident. In fact, he told Fox News, “I’m definitely going to make sure I’m paying it forward. I get blessed, I want to bless someone else.”
Of course, this isn’t the first windshield note to have gone viral. Others, however, have sometimes been a lot more passive-aggressive than the sweet note that Smith received.
Last summer, for example, one redditor’s response to a rude note on his windshield went big. In fact, his witty reply got over 500,000 views on the site as well as receiving worldwide media coverage.
Thankfully, though, Smith’s note was far more heartfelt. And it’s a wonderful example of how well we can all get on when we’re willing to see the good in people.