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Nine for nine
Ellinwood girl spreads birthday cheer
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Alexis Swinney, Ellinwood, found a willing cohort in mom Linda Schlotthauer, when she set out to perform nine random acts of kindness on her ninth birthday earlier this month. - photo by Veronica Coons, Tribune staff

Editor’s note: Warning. This story will likely make you smile.

Alexis Swinney, Ellinwood, with the help of her mother, Linda Schlotthauer, wanted to do something unusual and fun for her ninth birthday earlier this month. While some kids dream all year of their special day being all about them, they hatched a plan to do nine random acts of kindness.
“I wanted to pay it forward and make people smile,” she said. “I just thought
The night before, they rented a movie from Redbox to watch. Then, on the morning of March 4, Linda excused Alexis so she could be a little late for school. They headed out, with mom documenting their scheme along the way.
When Alexis returned the Redbox movie, she put money inside the case for snacks for the next viewer.
Then, she spread good luck in the form of 100 heads-up pennies in the Walmart parking lot.
“A lot of people looked at us like we were crazy, doing that at eight-o’clock in the morning,” her mom said.
They also put quarters in the slots of the vending machines at Walmart.
They took two dozen donuts to each the Great Bend Police Department and the Barton County Sheriff’s Department. Officers sang Happy Birthday to her, which made her happy. She also received D.A.R.E. items and badges for herself and her brothers.
“We took some bubbles, and spread them around the park at Ellinwood, because that is where we live,” Alexis said.
They also took cookies to the children’s clinic and to her school.
Finally, they put M&Ms in the mailbox for the mailman.
“Because he walks miles and miles,” she said.
All this was done before she arrived at school. Later in the day, she had lunch with her mom at school, and the whole second and third grade wished her a happy birthday also at the end of the school day.
She says when she turns 10, she will do 10 more random acts of kindness.