Hospital Worker Kept Secret For 8 Years, Then Boss Finds Out; Blindsides Entire Community

Updated October 11, 2017

We all know that there are a lot of bad people in this world, which is why there seems to be more bad news than good. But, every now and then we hear stories about people who go above and beyond without even being asked. These are the people who genuinely love to help others and they have hearts of gold.

Fifty-four-year-old Jessie Tendayi is one of those people. The food service aide spends her days working in the cafeteria at the Advocate Children’s Hospital in Oak Lawn, Illinois, and she recently revealed that she had been saving her money to buy gifts for the children at the hospital at Christmastime. She had done it every year in the past, but this year she really blew the rest of the staff away, when she saved enough to purchase 1,300 toys, which she picked out herself.

“I have to do what I have to do to make the children happy,” said Tendayi, who personally delivers the toys and lets the children pick out which ones they want.

In 2009 Tendayi had started buying the gifts and had started out purchasing 100, but she has made it her goal to increase that number every year.

“Why do I do it? God put it in my heart,” Tendayi said. “One day I was watching TV and I saw children in need. I asked myself, ‘What should I do for them to calm down what they are going through?’ So I started saving my money to make sure the children had something to play with while they are sick, so they can forget their pain.”

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Nineteen years ago, Tendayi and her husband moved from Zimbabwe to Chicago and while the couple never had children of their own, Tendayi says she has a lot of children now, admitting that the kids in the hospital are like her own.

While Tendayi works a humble job as a cafeteria worker, she opened a savings account where part of her paycheck goes into. At the end of the year, before Christmas, she takes that saved money and goes on a shopping spree for the children.

“It’s not about being rich. It’s not about money,” she said. “The little we have, we can share. For me, it’s a blessing. I’m able to make a difference for the children. Children, they need somebody who cares about them. You want to make a difference to them. I felt in my heart I had to do something for the children.”

Tendayi says that the biggest gift is seeing how much the children appreciate the gifts. She says the children make her feel like she has a family.

“I’m happy. I’m happy to do this,” she said. “When God puts this in your heart, you don’t get tired.You love what you’re doing. I love helping other people.”

If everyone used their heart to promote kindness like Tendayi does every year, the world would be a rippling effect of love and happiness. Tendayi is only one person, but she manages to light up hundreds of lives when she gives away those gifts.