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Boy, 11, Has a Challenge for El Paso

'We can make the world a better place,' says 11-year-old Ruben Martinez
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 6, 2019 9:20 AM CDT
A makeshift memorial for the victims of Saturday's mass shooting is seen at a shopping complex in El Paso, Texas, on Sunday.   (AP Photo/Andres Leighton, File)
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(Newser) – An 11-year-old is helping El Paso heal by inspiring random acts of kindness. Ruben Martinez told his mother he no longer wanted to visit stores following Saturday's mass shooting inside a Walmart. "I explained to him that we could not live in fear and that people in our community are caring and loving," mom Rose Gandarilla tells CNN. "I told him to try and think of something he could do to make El Paso a little better." After some brainstorming, Ruben emerged from his bedroom with a challenge. "To honor the people who got killed in our city," the sixth grader wants every El Pasoan to complete 22 good deeds.

His suggestions: Visit a nursing home, buy a person a meal, "write someone a letter and tell them how great they are," or simply "hold the door." For Ruben's first act, "he wanted to take food to the first responders," so "I let him buy some tacos for everyone. We went and delivered them," Gandarilla tells ABC7. Social media posts suggest many outside of El Paso have also been inspired by the boy, who overcame his fear and visited several stores to spread awareness about his #ElPasoChallenge. "El Pasoans are loving, caring and are willing to do anything to help out," he tells KABC. "We can make the world a better place." (Read more El Paso shooting stories.)

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