Jessie Tendayi was hired as a food service aide at a Chicago children’s hospital eight years ago and has quietly done her job every day since. On occasion, she’s picked up overtime hours but has never said much to anyone during the time she’s been there. So, nobody had a clue what she was up to until her boss walked in on what she had hidden in a backroom.
Jessie proved herself to be a perfect employee since she’s been reliable, never complained, and happily picked up overtime hours whenever they were available. Since she doesn’t have children of her own, she assumed the patients at Advocate Children’s Hospital as hers. Everyone knew Jessie was married to a man, who she moved to the U.S. with 19-years-ago when the couple left Zimbabwe, but nobody knew the extent of what she was hiding until this week.
According to the Chicago Tribune, in 2009, Jessie began using a portion of her paycheck to quietly contribute a very specific gift to the sick kids. She began by buying 100 gifts at Christmastime to give to the kids where she worked, who had to spend the holidays in a hospital room. However, since then, she increased that goal to an incredible level, quietly collecting overtime hours to pay for an impressive act of generosity with her own money.
Jessie just spent $5,000 on 1,000 toys, which she put together in a backroom display for sick kids to pick from. “It’s amazing that someone’s giving their time and effort to make sure children in the hospital have a great Christmas too,” one of the recipients of Jessie’s generosity told WGN. Another mother said that her son never leaves his hospital room, but because of this kindhearted employee, he has something to play with to pass the time in the sterile room.
Perhaps the biggest gift was for Jessie, who is overcome with appreciation from the kids who help her feel like she has a family, and was happy to have the opportunity to give to them. “It’s a very good day for me. I’m happy, I’m happy to do this,” she told the Chicago Tribune. “When God puts this in your heart, you don’t get tired. You love what you’re doing. I love helping other people,” she added.
Jessie took her time and gave it to these kids in a number of ways without asking anyone to help her with it and not wanting praise for her efforts. All she wanted to do was bless these children, which she did, as well as those who have heard her story and the secret she kept to get to this incredible point of giving.