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Family discovers random act of kindness for Poway synagogue shooting victim

Posted at 6:37 PM, Aug 12, 2019
and last updated 2019-08-12 21:37:32-04

POWAY, Calif. (KGTV) - The memory of Poway synagogue shooting victim Lori Gilbert-Kaye is living on through random acts of kindness, which she was known for often doing.

Over the weekend, Emily Tolliver went to the Poway Dollar Tree with her 11-year-old son, Shawn.

"I was just walking down the aisles, and I saw a toy snake. I was originally thinking in my head, oh, this would be great to scare my mom!" said Shawn.

But Shawn quickly realized that the toy was special, noticing a note on the back.

"I went over to my mom, and I told her look this says, 'Enjoy this random act of kindness.' And then we kind of read the note together and noticed it was for the person who had died in the shooting," said Shawn.

Taped to the back of the toy was a $1 bill and a dime, just enough to pay for that toy.

It also had a note from a 5-year-old which read: "In loving memory of Lori Gilbert Kaye, 8/10/58 - 4/27/19"

After posting the experience on Facebook, hundreds of people were moved by the gesture of kindness. On the very day they discovered the note Lori would have turned 61.

"I knew that the community would be touched by it, but I was surprised it brought people to tears. Just remembering her and that a 5-year-old was remembering her on her birthday, the way she wants to be remembered, and that's through helping others and doing acts of kindness," said Emily.

"It really made me feel like anyone can make a difference, at any age or anywhere at any time, you can make a difference," said Shawn.

Just last week Gilbert-Kaye's husband spoke at the Mesa Arts Center in Arizona, encouraging people there to do good for the world.

"Here you have a wonderful, beautiful person where there was really no boundaries of religion, race or color, but she would help everyone, would look for people and help them," said Dr. Kaye.

He said it was his wish to see random acts of kindness continue for his late wife.

"Just little things in life, giving a little bit to charity, doing a good deed, is my way of preventing bad things from happening," said Dr. Kaye.

The Tollivers say they plan to keep the happiness train going. As they decide what their act of kindness will be, they'll do so with Lori in their hearts.