Thanksgiving, for many people, is a time for family. It's a time to gather around a table, spend time with loved ones (or, at least, people you tolerate once or twice a year in exchange for eating free food that everybody else made), and talk about what you're thankful for.

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For others, Thanksgiving is a time of reflection. It's a time to, maybe, sit at the end of a dark bar, with Rocky II playing in the background, thinking about everything that had transpired throughout the previous year. It's a time for reflection, a time for growth. Or maybe just a time to get blackout drunk and try again next year.

But for four Casper kiddos, Thanksgiving presented an opportunity to do something for their neighbors.

After meals were eaten and pies were cut and creams were whipped, four cousins braved the cold Casper air in order to shovel their neighbors' walkways.


"They all came up with the idea completely on their own," said Morgan Martin, mother of one of the kids. "It was completely them; we just encouraged the good idea."

Martin said that the kiddos went from house to house knocking on doors, asking if the residents needed their sidewalks shoveled.

"We wanted to help others for Thanksgiving and make sure everyone was safe when they got home from being with their friends and family," said Breckyn Martin, one of the young shovelers. "It was the right thing to do.”

Breckyn was joined by his cousins: Ashten and Logan Zechiel and Makena Westbrook.

One of the neighbors, a woman named Amanda Long, was blown away by this act of service, this act of kindness.

"I don't think we realize how rare true kindness is in society today," Long told K2 Radio News. "These kids were out to spread love and kindness in their neighborhood. They said I was the first person to answer the door, and they live on the block over. I thanked them and gave them $20 after they were done; they said no, but I insisted. One of them asked for a side hug, and the others kept saying 'We just wanted do do something nice for other people today!' They also said 'I hope you have a very wonderful Thanksgiving. And thank you for letting us help you.'"

They literally thanked the lady for letting them help her.

Mind: Blown.

Even though Long was the first to answer the door, she wasn't the first sidewalk that they shoveled. They just took it upon themselves to get to work. Their parents, understandably, were extremely proud.

"We are both very proud that they are learning to put others first," Martin said. "This year has been difficult for so many families and our entire family believes that no matter what is going on in life, be kind always."

Those are good words to live by; not just on Thanksgiving, but every day. It's easy, throughout the hustle and bustle of life, to become so focused on our own lives that we fail to consider the lives of others. We don't know what others are going through; we don't know that they may not actually have a family to spend Thanksgiving with. We don't know that maybe this is the first year they've skipped the bar, and the bourbon. We don't know what their lives are like and so it's best to just yield on the side of kindness.

That's what these four Casper kiddos did. They didn't say much; they didn't have to. They just let their actions do the talking for them. In doing so, they embodied the real meaning of Thanksgiving (which is good because, like, the history of the holiday is actually pretty atrocious). The real meaning of Thanksgiving isn't food, or even family. It's not the bar or the bourbon. It's remembering what we have, and trying to give what we can of it to others.

That is kindness. That is empathy. Thanksgiving.

"Their Nana always tells them 'It doesn’t matter how anyone treats you; always be kind," Martin said. "Love conquers all; it’s something my sisters and I have been taught our entire lives and it's something that we encourage our children to follow as well."

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