Tis’ the season to spread holiday cheer, and this year Reddit users hope to cheer up Britain’s loneliest schoolboy. Aron Anderson is the only school-age boy left on the small Scottish archipelago of Out Skerries. The last of his peers graduated recently to attend secondary school on another island. Now Aron is the only pupil at the local school and he can count only his dog, some ducks and sheep as his friends.
An article about Aron was posted to Reddit’s Scotland forum a few weeks ago. One user, BesottedScot, was moved to organize a Christmas card campaign for the boy.
“I thought it would be very nice if we as a subreddit sent him some Christmas cards! … I phoned his school last week to let them know that I was planning this, and that I recommended his parent(s) and/or his teacher helps him to open the cards. I really want him to get a big massive smile on his face, so please, write a wee message in the card to show your support too!”
Crowd-sourced charity is nothing new to Reddit. Users regularly leverage the site to organize grand philanthropic gestures. After an earthquake devastated Haiti in January 2010, Reddit users donated $185,356 in disaster aid to DirectRelief. Reddit users also donated over $70,000 to the Faraja Orphanage in Kenya within the first 24 hours after it was robbed. There are even Reddit’s forums dedicated to connecting do-gooders to those in need, like /r/RandomactsofPizza, where anyone can donate a pizza to someone down on their luck. Or /r/RandomactsofCards, where users send Christmas cards to anyone who wants one.
But the effort for Aron was organized mainly by /r/Scotland. BesottedScot asked users to send postcards out Dec 7th so most would arrive in one big shipment before Christmas. According to the updated post, Aron can expect Season’s Greeting from around the globe, including cards from Portugal, the US, and Canada.