Sometimes small gestures can make a big difference in a child’s life so one cafeteria manager at an elementary school in Virginia Beach, Virginia, is trying to offer a little empowerment to her pupils with a surprising sweet staple: bananas!
Stacey Truman has been working at Kingston Elementary School for nine years, but has worked in the local school district for almost 15 years.
Recently, Truman, who oversees operations in the school's cafeteria, decided to start offering something a little unusual on the menu, by writing encouraging messages on banana peels.
"I do it for my kids at home, so I decided to bring it here because they are like my kids, too,” Truman told TODAY Food. Though she has been doing it for several weeks, she says the messages only recently started receiving more attention when staff members at the school started to tweet photos of the fruit.
“The kids love it!” she said. “They [the kids and teachers] call them 'talking bananas!'”
Social media has also been reacting to this simple, yet kind act of inspiration in a big way.
The banana messages also received special attention after the school's principal, Sharon Shewbridge, shared some photos on Twitter.
"I shared it on social media because we need more positive messages out there," Shewbridge told TODAY via email. "Mrs. Truman is so encouraging and does so much for the students and staff at Kingston."
The principal added that Truman "values relationships with all of our students," but, perhaps not surprisingly, the cafeteria worked has been a bit overwhelmed by the attention.
"I think she would have preferred to stay anonymous," Shewbridge said. "I am so glad that it has been shared with so many. It would be great if all of our school cafeterias were able to share messages like this for their students."
The bananas feature several motivational messages including “Never give up,” “You are wise!” and “You’re amazing!” — all simple notes that Truman said she came up with because that’s what kids need to hear — and what she would want to hear herself. Still, after over a decade on the job, Truman has been totally overwhelmed by the supportive reactions she's received so far.
Added Truman, "I never expected recognition for this I’m just doing my job!"