“On Stan Tucker’s wildly painted Leap for Literacy bookmobile – crowned the Read ’n’ Roll – the books cost nothing. But they don’t come free. The currency that will buy them is kindness.
Acts are each recorded on kindness tickets that are legal tender on the Read ’n’ Roll.
When the Read ’n’ Roll shows up at a school, the kids excitedly bounce into a line for their chance to exchange their tickets for books.
Kindnesses that earn tickets run the gamut, from ‘I helped a student that dropped his books in the hall’ to ‘I invited a student who was playing alone to play with our group.’
When Mr. Tucker, now working as a waiter and camp counselor, was teaching kindergarten in suburban Atlanta in 2014, a student approached him before a book fair to say he wouldn’t be going because his mom didn’t have any money. It broke Mr. Tucker’s heart – and it gave him an idea for a way to get books into kids’ hands.
He started his program during a year off from teaching in 2015 when, hoping to keep working with kids, he was sometimes lugging more than 1,000 books in a beat-up Honda Element for giveaways at schools.
But to build the enterprise – because donors like measurables – Mr. Tucker knew he needed something to count. He landed on a measure of kindness.
‘The quickest impact when you do something kind – you say something nice, you do something for them – is that smile that comes on their face, that instant gratification, of seeing that person happy,’ says Mr. Tucker.”