The following is a story written by our Founder, Kelly Putty:
Here is one of those crazy, coincidental, small world stories that I have to share.
My son, Asfaw, who is originally from Ethiopia, was recruited to join the i2i Soccer Academy in York, England. It is affiliated with York St. John University. This is his dream come true (that’s another story in itself). After completing the process, we were thrilled and started preparing to move him to England to start college this month. I saw on the Soccer Academy team page that another Ethiopian boy was also going to be joining the program. It thrilled me for my son to have an Ethiopian friend in the program with him. I looked him up on Facebook and saw that his mother and I had several friends in common. It appeared that this boy was also adopted, as he had a white family like my son. I reached out to MaryKay, the mother, and introduced myself and told her that my son was also Ethiopian and would be starting the program with her son. We immediately hit it off and started messaging back and forth, getting to know one another!
She shared her son, Tamirat’s adoption story with me and then asked me about my son, Asfaw’s story. Rather than go into the long story, I just sent her this link to Asfaw’s story. It was a video I put together showing how Asfaw and I met. It also documents the journey we went on to find his lost grandmother back in 2013 before he came home to us. She loved it and said she was going to show her family.
The next day she told me that she sent the video to her biological son so he could watch it.
As we chatted and shared stories, MaryKay sent me a picture of her son and his family.
I told her what a beautiful family her son has. What an adorable grandbaby! So cute!
We chatted more about Ethiopia and then she sent me a message with this picture and said: “Does she look familiar?”
I said, “Wow! The post office girl in Ethiopia! I loved her!”
So now I’m confused. How does this new friend of mine know the post office girl?
With my many travels to Ethiopia taking Ordinary Hero teams to serve, I used to always run into this young girl selling gum on the streets in an area of Ethiopia that we call the “post office”. I take my teams there to shop. She and I became friends and I would talk to her every time I would see her on the streets over the years. She was beautiful and always stood out to me because she was the only girl in that area among so many street boys trying to survive by selling things on the streets of Addis Ababa.
My heart went out to her so we would give her special notes and treats when we saw her.
MaryKay also travels to Ethiopia some so I thought how cool it was that she met this same young girl at some point also. I began telling her how I adored this sweet girl. I sent her some pictures of us together back in the day when we used to see her on the street. It was cool that we both knew the same post office girl we met on the street in Ethiopia.
MaryKay said, “She has been asking about “Klee Buddy” ever since she came to America. You made a huge impact on her.”
I said, “What! She is in America? I always wondered what happened to her. How did she get to America? When? Where is she?” I had a million questions.
Then she said, “Meselu and Seth are coming to the U.K. with us! You can see her again! I am at their house now and she just smiled so big looking at your pictures.”
Me: (totally confused) “Wait, What?”
She said, “Did you catch that my son’s wife IS the post office girl? And….Umm, you are Klee Buddy. She is so excited to see you again!”
It all hit me at once! What?! Oh my dear Lord! I didn’t realize the girl in the picture with her son was HER…the post office girl!!
(reinsert picture she sent me earlier) ↓
AND I AM KLEE BUDDY?? What?
MaryKay began to tell me that she sent her son, Seth, the story of Asfaw after I shared it with her. She wanted him to see who his brother, Tamirat, would be in England with while in the soccer program. His wife, Meselu, was sitting with him when he watched the video and she began pointing to the screen saying “Klee Buddy, Klee Buddy”. For years he has heard her talk about “Klee Buddy” but he never knew who she was talking about. He called his mom, MaryKay, and asked her what is the name of the woman in the video. She said, “Kelly Putty”. He said, “That is Klee Buddy! That is who Meselu has asked about all these years!”
Such a small world!!
Turns out that Meselu met Seth, MaryKay’s son, during the years he would travel and serve in Ethiopia. They fell in love and married in Ethiopia. Later he brought Meselu to the States.
They had a beautiful baby last year, making MaryKay and her hubby proud grandparents to a beautiful baby girl.
I told her that I couldn’t wait to see Meselu again. I wanted to hear their entire story. And to think that I would see her again in England of all places. Last time I saw her she was selling gum on the streets of Ethiopia! Crazy!
We traveled to England this month and our trip was amazing! We got our son moved into his new British culture, ready to start his new college/soccer life.
The first day we arrived in York we met MarkKay and her family for breakfast at our hotel. All of a sudden, in walked the post office girl! After all these years, I saw Meselu again! She wasn’t the young street girl I knew in Ethiopia. She is a beautiful young wife and mother, with an amazing story to tell.
I was humbled that she had such a fond memory of me from so long ago. I don’t feel that I did anything significant. I was just simply nice to her when she was in a time of need. I simply gave this beautiful young girl, whom I met on the streets of Ethiopia, some of my time, attention, and a note with candy attached to it. I bought some gum from her for more than what she was selling it for. It really goes to show the impact you can make on someone just by being kind when they need it most. You never know what people are facing in their life.
She was such a sweet little girl doing her best to survive in a great big, harsh world she was living in at the time. Hers is a story of God’s amazing redemption. The fact that we were meeting again in England, with my son, who also originally came from the same streets of Ethiopia, is just one of those undeniable, full circle, God moments. To see how the Lord pulled these kids up, out of the mud and the mire of life, and set them into their destiny is a miracle to me! It is even beyond anything they, themselves, could ever ask or think.
It is my son’s dream come true to be professionally trained in England. And now to think that God brought him a friend from his birth country to walk alongside him in this journey. It’s a gift, especially knowing the similar journey they both have lived through to get there.
And then… To think that because of his new friend in the program I would meet Meselu again, not in Ethiopia, but in England, a country I had never been to before this trip. I could have never imagined any of this in a million years.
Sometimes miracles are hard to see. But sometimes they are written all over the lives of those we cross paths with on any given day if we take time to look a little deeper.
I’m so glad I was kind to a shy little girl years ago on the streets of Ethiopia who thought my name was Klee Buddy. I gave her a note that said “Jesus ♥’s U” and some treats that came from a blessing bag that someone else sent with our team. I simply became her friend. I don’t know what she had faced up to that point in her life. I don’t know what circumstances would cause a little girl to have to sell gum on the streets by herself at such a young age. But you never know when someone might need a little bit of hope to brighten their day through the smallest act of kindness. It could last them a lifetime.
It is my privilege to tell this story. Whose path will you cross today? What kind of impact can you make in their life through a small act of kindness?
You may just give them the hope they need that day…and you might just be someone they will never forget because of it.
Klee Buddy ♥
Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”