"Ithink Ruby's starting a movement—recognizing a need and just doing somethingabout it.”
For 11-year-old Ruby Kate Chitsey, whose mom works asa nurse practitioner in and around Harrison, Arkansas, summers mean a lot oftime spent at nursing homes. The fifth grader told CNNthis link opens in a new tab thatshe enjoys hanging out with the residents, but admits sometimes it can getboring.
But everything changed for Ruby one day last summerwhen she saw a resident named Pearl sitting in her wheelchair, staringlongingly at an exit. Peering out the door, Ruby spotted a dog being led out ona leash to a car. Pearl’s 12-year-old dog had come to visit for the day, andshe didn’t know the next time she would see her dog again."It was very sad,”Ruby told CNN. “We have a lot of dogs and I could feel her pain.”
She knew it cost $12 an hour to have a pet sittercome, but she also knew that many of the residents have little to spare. And itoccurred to her: how many others couldn't afford simple things that broughtthem joy? That’s when she decided to do something about it.Ruby began askingresidents what three things in the world they wish they had right now and wrotethem down in an old notebook.The answers were surprising.One man said he wantedsome pants that fit. Another, who said she hadn't had a fresh strawberry ineight years, simply asked for fresh fruit. Other asked for books or phonesbecause they were lonely."Talking about it still makes me emotional,"Ruby’s mom Amanda Milford Chitsey told CNN. "I had known someof these patients 20 years. They told her things they would've never told mebecause she was a child."