Behold! Free books!

Good news travels fast. It’s true. All it takes is one person telling another, and the ripple of good begins. Imagine walking out on a Saturday morning and seeing a big yellow bus with a sign that says free books. That’s what Joey, Roman and Mackenna saw while walking with their father to the Georgetown Village Market. They were the first ones who found Bess the Book Bus when the 2012 Transitions/VSP Success is in Sight tour rolled into Racine, WI. Their excitement set off the chain events that sent books into classrooms, health clinics and home libraries.

Joey, Mackenna and Roman pose with their brand new books at the Georgetown Community Market in Racine, WI.

After the three had first pick of the books aboard the bus, they went back to the neighboring apartments and started fueling good. They spread the word so fast, that it seemed like no time until we had a steady trickle of pajama clad families coming to see about the bus giving away free books. Amazed, parents pulled out their cellphones and passed along the good word. “You won’t believe what is going on at the CITGO station,” they said and the crowd grew bigger.

In just three hours, we donated more than 1,100 books to children ages 2 to 92, and that’s no exaggeration. Mrs. Rose is a 92 year-old-retired school teacher. She keeps books around for her children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. “Teach a child to read,” she said, “and he can travel the world.”

“Teach a child to read and he can travel the world.”

Word spread from Racine to Milwaukee. Mary Siegrist is the director Reach Out and Read Milwaukee. The organization gives away more than 10,000 books each year to health clinics and hospitals for doctors to give to children. It promotes health and literacy in communities that struggle with each. We met Mary last year at an event in Milwaukee, where we loaded up her car with 1,200 books donated from Capstone. This year, we helped again, donating  900 new books to the cause.

Paying forward a good deed goes a lot further than you think. It only takes one person to start the ripple that creates the Fueling  Good phenomenon. In Racine, kids went door to door, parents called friends and Mary Siegrist drove from Milwaukee. They all knew a good thing when they saw it, and that’s something worth sharing. Together, we can keep the good rolling all across the country.