After breakfast with his toddler at a Cracker Barrel restaurant in Willoughby, Ohio, Kevon Smith Sr. returned to his car in the parking lot. He was surprised to find a gift from mysterious strangers on his windshield. It was a note, with some cash — the strangers wanted to pay for the father-son breakfast.
The note read, in part: “We need more black dads like you.”
“Today your meal is on my wife and me,” read the note.
“I noticed this older couple over in the corner,” Smith told CBS affiliate Cleveland Channel 19, which posted the story on Aug. 25. “They kept smiling at me and I was looking at my son like — ‘What is going on?'”
The note also said: “Today your meal is on my wife and me. Enjoy that baby boy as long as God intends.”
The note was signed, “Keep doing what you’re doing. The Masons.”
Smith told Channel 19 he didn’t have a father figure growing up — making the time he spends with his son Kevon Smith Jr. that much more precious.
“A lot of guys I know aren’t taking care of their kids,” said Smith. “Not all of us are out here being gangbangers — some of us are out here being fathers.”
“We know how instrumental fathers are in general, but in the black community they are essential,” Derryck Green, a political commentator, writer, and Project 21 member in Northern California told LifeZette.
Project 21, an initiative of the National Center for Public Policy Research, promotes the views of African-Americans whose dedication to family and commitment to individual responsibility is not traditionally represented by current civil rights efforts.
“Without black fathers in the home, raising their children and providing guidance and helping their sons to come up with forms of expression on how to be a man and how to channel anger and emotion,” continued Green, “there’s no model for young black men.”
Kevon Smith Sr. says he’ll share the story with his son when he’s older — and teach him that kindness goes a long way.
“Without fathers in the home, there’s no model for young black men.”
“I’m definitely going to make sure I’m paying it forward,” he said. “I [am] blessed. I want to bless someone else.”
Green said black fathers are instrumental to a daughter’s healthy future, too. “A father is important in modeling the kind of man that women should be choosing, and who they allow to court them. Women should have a high standard — based on what their fathers taught them.”
Green said without good fathers, boys often turn to self-destructive behavior and girls to promiscuous activities. Smith, he said, illustrates a break in the cycle.
“This episode shows that even in this cynical age, and even though this young man didn’t have an active father in the home, he’s not using that as an excuse to not father his own child,” he noted.
“He’s not allowing his past circumstances to re-victimize himself as a father, and by extension, victimize his son.”