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Fifth-grader uses Google Translate to befriend transfer student

Posted November 7

TEMECULA, Calif. — A California fifth-grader is showing the world that kindness is a language understood by all.

When Amanda Moore noticed 10-year-old Rafael Anaya sitting alone during lunch at Paloma Elementary School last week, she decided to try to befriend him. But when she sat down and attempted to make conversation, she quickly realized Rafael didn’t speak much English, according to CBS News.

Rafael and his family recently moved to California from Mexico. Not only was he the new kid at a new school — he couldn’t understand the language being spoken around him.

Luckily, Amanda wasn’t about to let a language barrier get in the way of a new friendship, so she consulted Google Translate and attempted to craft a letter to Rafael in his native language — Spanish.

“I just think he shouldn’t be alone,” Amanda told ABC7 News. “Everybody should have a buddy.”

She brought the letter home for her mother, Kimber Kinard, to proofread. Kinard told CBS while she wasn’t surprised at her daughter’s action, she was deeply moved.

“I always said, ‘Find the new kid.’ Always. Find the new kid,” Kinard told CBS. “They may not stay your friend, but they won’t forget that you made them welcome in that school.”

Kinard posted a picture of the note to the Love What Matters Facebook page. The note reads, “Would you like to sit with me today? Look for me and I will show you where I sit. We can color or simply tell scary stories. Thank you for your time, signed Amanda.”

Amanda presented the note to Rafael the next day at school, and at first, he seemed a bit confused. Until he started reading it.

“When he finished reading it, his eyes were welling up with tears and then Amanda’s eyes were welling up with tears,” Kinard told ABC7. “And then the whole class stood up and applauded. He stood up and he hugged her.”

Amanda and Rafael became fast friends — the pair even went trick-or-treating together on Halloween.

For now, Amanda and Rafael communicate through drawings, according to CBS News. But each kid is working hard to learn the other’s language.

Amanda was selected as the school’s student of the month for her kind act. She was honored last week, ABC6 reports.

“I think it’s just touched so many people on so many levels. I’ve personally received 1,600 personal Facebook messages from people all across the world just saying gracias and it doesn’t take a translator to know what that means,” Kinard said.

Jessica Ivins is a content manager for KSL.com and contributor to the Motherhood Matters section.

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