Local girl making people smile with random acts of kindness

By Taylor Pace

Googly-eyed monsters are taking over the region with messages of love, thanks to one local girl.

You might have spotted one in Walmart or Costco: a lost-looking, adorably crocheted monster with a note attached that says something along the lines of ‘I am here to gobble up the worries on your mind,’ and ‘if I made you smile, please take me home.’ 

Eleven-year-old Kenzie Norman is the one responsible for this monster invasion. She started making them towards the end of March after seeing the idea on Pinterest. 

Since then, she and her mom, Samantha Stewart, have made and distributed around 300 throughout the region. 

While that might seem like a lot in just a few weeks, Kenzie is impeccably fast at crocheting. 

“She makes a cardigan in a day. This child is wild with a crochet hook,” Stewart laughed. 

Her love of crocheting was inspired by her great grandfather. A few years ago, Kenzie saw that he was making hats for cancer patients in local hospitals, so they got her started on the loom to knit. Not long after, she decided to pick up a crochet hook. 

Fighting to keep her eyesight, Kenzie wears specialty contacts. Though terrifying, Stewart says she’s doing well, and they’re keeping their fingers crossed. 

“In the meantime, I just think it’s pretty special for her to use her eyesight [like this]. If God decides that she’s had her eyesight long enough, and she’s going to give smiles to those while she still has it? That’s pretty cool.”

For Kenzie, it’s enough to know she’s made someone’s day, or made them smile. Although, she says hiding them for people to find is also a lot of fun. 

Others seem to think so too. Since word caught on, people have been requesting packages, picking them up and distributing them themselves — with their little monsters travelling as far as Newfoundland. 

They currently have a package waiting for Family and Children’s Services to distribute to foster children. Kenzie even started making an alternative for the McMaster Children’s Hospital. 

“We had to alter it because we didn’t want to say, please take me home, because some of the kids in McMaster’s don’t have that privilege,” Stewart said. Instead, they're ducks that come with a note saying “I am a good luck duck sent to help on a hard day. Feel free to take me with you to cheer when you feel grey.”

But it’s not just strangers the little monsters are helping. Stewart lives with severe social anxiety, and says that helping Kenzie distribute them around the region has helped her get out of her comfort zone. 

“I went to Costco for the first time in two years. I didn’t shop, but I had the critters to give out, and it gave me something to look at. I almost felt accomplished, I felt good,” she said. “She’s helping so many people. But she doesn’t even realize that she’s helping me so much.” 

When asked how she felt about Kenzie doing all this, Stewart teared up. 

“I can’t even talk about it. I’m so proud to be her mom. I just don’t know what I did to deserve her,” she said. “I call her my little earth angel. She just loves to give.”

When she’s not making worry monsters, Kenzie is always looking for ways to help others. She bakes for her grandparents, asks her mom to pay forward drive thru orders, and insists on helping unhoused people any way she can. 

“Every time someone helps me, I feel happy,” Kenzie said. “It’s just a really nice feeling. And knowing I made someone else feel that happy, makes me [even happier].”

Kenzie hopes the idea catches on, and people start making their own, carrying forward the random acts of kindness. 

“That’s her hope. If other people started making them, the region could be filled with so many more,” Stewart said. 

However, they stress that the monsters are to be random acts of kindness — not to be sold. 

“If I accept money, that’s a service. That’s not a random act of kindness,” Kenzie said. 

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