ENCINITAS, Calif. — The economic impact of the pandemic has challenged the spirit of many small business owners. In this Zevely Zone, I visited Encinitas for a random act of "Karate Kindness".
Master Santhi Castle from Encinitas Karate lost half of her students during the COVID-19 shutdown of 2020. Her business was closed and completely empty for many months.
"It's been really hard because I lost a lot of students," said Master Castle.
Students weren't allowed to show up, but Master Castle says her bills kept coming.
"You could tell that she was struggling," said Vanessa Wells. The Encinitas mother said late last year her daughters 9-year-old Maya and 6-year-old Sahara bumped into Master Castle. They could tell she was down.
"They thought what can we do to help?" said Vanessa.
Pretty incredible what can happen when big hearts decide to help a small business. Maya and Sahara posted flyers around their neighborhood and started selling t-shirts. They showed me some of their shirts.
"So, mine is an eagle and mine is a bear with a forest inside of it," said Maya and Sahara. The girls were hoping to sell a few T-shirts.
"I was super surprised," said Sahara. Suddenly they were printing more t-shirts and money.
"People, if they donated $20 or more, they got a shirt," said Vanessa.
Master Castle remembers being all alone inside her business the day Maya and Sahara surprised her with an envelope.
"I opened up (the envelope) and looked at it and it was $500. A $500 check that they donated to the business," said Master Castle. Five years ago, Maya took karate lessons at the studio. She forgot most of the moves, but not Master Castle.
"They chose me, for all of the businesses they can donate. They chose me and I was very thankful," said Master Castle.
The tough karate master was brought to tears.
"Yes!" said Master Castle. Maya added, "It made me feel very happy."
Sahara offered this, "I realized that every small thing counts."
Just when you thought COVID couldn't create any more tears, Master Castle received a karate chop to the heart.
"I didn't know what to say and was surprised," said Master Castle.
"Many of us can learn a lot from these little girls."
"I'm really proud of my girls," said Vanessa who said her daughters are still selling T-shirts and raising money for small businesses.
If you'd like to buy a shirt, please visit their Instagram page @never_stop_discovering by clicking here.