A boy asked his mailman for junk mail so he could practice reading. He didn't get his exact request.

At first, I was like, "Oh, god, this is sad." Then I was like, "Yessss! Humanity for the win!"

Utah postman Ron Lynch was making his routine deliveries one day when he saw a boy rifling through a container full of junk mail.

12-year-old Mathew Flores was collecting and reading discarded pieces of spam's more wasteful predecessor.


Photo by Judith E. Bell/Flickr.

As someone who drops the widely-seen-as-worthless stuff into mailboxes for a living, Lynch was intrigued.

Why would anyone, let alone a 12-year-old kid, want junk mail? Save, perhaps, for the watchful Internet bargain hunter.

Photo (altered) via Pretzelpaws/Wikipedia.

When Lynch asked Flores what he was doing, the boy's response was both heartbreaking and galvanizing.

The Deseret News reported that Flores told Lynch he reads junk mail "because he doesn't have books of his own and that bus fares made it difficult to get to the library."

So Lynch put a call out for his network to show a little love for the young and hungry reader.

He was surprised to see the post spread beyond his personal circles. "It's gone crazy from there," Lynch said to Deseret News. "I've heard from the U.K., Australia, from India."

The response was overwhelming. Books arrived by the stacks on the child's doorstep.

So many, in fact, that he thought it was a mistake. It wasn't. Flores is now the proud owner of a library that should keep him reading for years to come.

"They said these books are for you. I thought they were mistaken, but they were for me." — Mathew Flores

The story is inspiring, to be sure. But let's remember that Flores is not alone.

The U.S. is the richest country on the planet, but it's still failing kids like Flores when it comes to providing a path for the future. Today, 45% of American children live in low-income families (22% live below the federal poverty line).

Parents and their kids wait for new shoes and school supplies during a charity event in Skid Row, Los Angeles. Photo by Mark Ralston/AFP/Getty Images.

And when you consider that educational opportunity for children is directly affected by the economic health of the communities in which they live, well, you don't need me to explain why that's a problem.

Lynch deserves a big hand. But let's not forget: We shouldn't be leaving children's futures to chance.

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