Luke Pearl died at 4 years old. I don't know how he died, be it accident or illness, and I didn't know him or his family back in 2003 when it happened. In fact, I don't know them now. The first time I heard of Luke was yesterday when I was attending my preschool's fundraiser for the "Luke Pearl Scholarship fund." I didn't know him... but, after the lesson that I learned in his honor yesterday, I really wish I had.
Will's school held a purse auction yesterday to raise money for Luke's scholarship fund. The money goes to families who cannot afford the fantastic education that Will has been so lucky to have. They received tons of donated purses and filled the bags with donated goodies from iPods to restaurant gift cards to Godiva chocolates (my mom got that one!!!). There was a silent auction of tons of bags and then a live auction of four particularly expensive, well stocked designer bags. I won two of the silent auction prizes, bringing home a plethora of outdoor toys for the kids and then another full of indoor treats and board games. Not a bad haul for my money, if I do say so myself. But, the real prize is what I took home from the live auction.
The last bag came up, a lovely green shoulder bag filled with an iPod, gift cards, etc. and the bidding started at $50. It went up and up and up until two people were bidding against each other. It was a miscellaneous woman in the crowd and Luke Pearl's older sibling, a late middle school or early high school aged linebacker of a boy. Finally, the older Pearl won the bag at $160. The crowd clapped and cheered and then quieted as he rose to his feet. He pulled the bag onto his shoulder (at which time I yelled out "the green brings out your eyes") and he sheepishly walked over to the woman he was bidding against. He handed her the bag and said, "I don't really use purses." He went back to his seat as if that act of generosity was no big deal at all. The woman paused for a moment and then said, "I brought $200 to spend today, and I will donate it to the scholarship fund in light of what this young man just did" and she handed over $200 cash.
I don't know what kind of child Luke Pearl was, but in his brother I got an excellent view of the young man he would've become. That young man's selfless gesture... his willingness to spend that kind of money and walk away with nothing... that was a gift to all of us old ladies in the room. I walk away more proud of that moment then of either of my own donation or winnings. And I now know that even though Will doesn't benefit from the Luke Pearl Scholarship fund, he will from kindness and generosity that I will strive to teach him.... thanks to the Pearl family.