11-Year-Old Started ‘El Paso Challenge’ to Encourage Kindness After Mass Shooting

By Venus Upadhayaya, Epoch Times
August 9, 2019 Updated: August 9, 2019

An 11-year-old was so impacted by the El Paso shooting where 22 people lost their lives that he decided to not move out of his home. Prodded and encouraged by his mother he came up with El Paso Challange that’s now encouraging people to do good deeds for others.

Sixth-grader Ruben Martinez is a “loving and caring child” and the tragedy of El Paso shooting saddened him so much that he didn’t want to move out of his home in Texas.

“After the shooting, he went through some anxiety. He asked if we could just stay home and get a delivery service to deliver everything from now on so that we didn’t have to ever go back to a store,” explained Martinez’s mother, Rose Gandarilla in a text interview with The Epoch Times.

“The following day, I still could not get him to leave the house. We talked about things and I reminded him that most people in the world are good and asked him to think of what he could do to help,” said Gandarilla.

The mother told The Epoch Times in about 30-minutes her son came back with a list of ideas scribbled in his notebook. “It’s 22 good deeds in memory of each of the victims who were killed in El Paso,” said Gandarilla.

The first line scribbled with a pencil on the notebook read: “Purpose: To honor the people who got killed in our city.”

The second line read: “How: I’ll challenge each person in El Paso to do 20 good deeds for each other.”

This text is then followed by a paragraph that describes “examples” of various acts of kindness which include “pay for someone’s lunch or dinner, donate to families in need, write someone a letter and tell them how great they are, hold the door for everyone, comfort someone when they are sad or stressed …”

Martinez was quick to lead by example. Messages and pictures shared on Gandarilla Twitter show him holding the door at a gas station for people. Others followed suit.

Gandarilla told The Epoch Times that they have got an amazing response to the challenge. “The response has been amazing. Way more than we ever expected,” she said.

The campaign has had a ripple effect way beyond El Paso. “Not in El Paso but can we take the challenge too?” a Twitter user wrote to Gandarilla.

“We cleaned up litter at the beach in California. What a wonderful inspiration!” wrote another user.

“Personally, we plan to continue to push kindness indefinitely. For the last couple of years, Ruben has also participated in Operation Santa during which we adopt families in need for Christmas. We also have been paying for someone’s meal at random once a month for years,” said Gandarilla.

Martinez has a message for everyone who wants to make the world a better place. “Be kind to each other ALL day, ALL night; EVERY day, EVERY night,” his mother shared with The Epoch Times.

Follow Venus on Twitter: @venusupadhayaya
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