COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - It's through tragedies that we often see some of the greatest gestures of kindness. Lexington County first responders paid a visit to a group of first graders on Friday.
They were there to return a favor to 7-year-old Maddie Edwards, who had a special gift for the men and women who responded to Sunday's fatal Amtrak-CSX crash.
"We knew they'd be out here for a lot of hours," Edwards said. "So, we went and gave them doughnuts."
Friday morning, Lexington County EMS decided to pay it forward, surprising Edwards and her classmates with doughnuts and other gifts.
"I just thought it was a great gesture that she took her Sunday morning to do that for us. So, I wanted to return the favor," Lt. Karen Ellington with Lexington County EMS said.
First responders say it makes a tough job that much easier.
"I think we strive on things like that. To see the kindness from the public. To know that they're thinking about us just as much as we're thinking about them," Ellington said.
But it was even more meaningful to see the act of kindness coming from little Maddie, she said.
"I mean, I ate a doughnut – didn't know where they came from – and to know that it came from a little girl who just saw it on the news and thought that she needed to do something to help us, was pretty heartwarming," Ellington said.
Maddie said she wanted to take the first responders doughnuts that day because "they work really hard and they should get something in return."
Maddie's mom, Karen Edwards, said she's very proud of her daughter.
"We do think that this is a great way to show parents and children that you can give back with the smallest gesture," Karen said.