Piggy bank donation to defaced mosque stirs worldwide reaction

Jack Swanson at the mosque (KXAN Photo)
Jack Swanson at the mosque (KXAN Photo)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — A second grader in Pflugerville has been overwhelmed by media requests from around the world this week. This follows the KXAN story on Monday that showed him emptying his piggy bank and taking $20 to a mosque that had been vandalized with feces. Seems Jack Swanson’s kindness has inspired many others to also reach out in support.

It’s been a bewildering week for seven year old Jack Swanson, he could never guess his gracious gesture would cause such a fuss. He spoke with the BBC Thursday morning and was in the New York Post Thursday night. He smiles shyly, “It makes me feel happy that people are inspired by me.” Asked how many media appearances he might do Jack replied the family would pick a couple.

Others are paying it forward. Strangers like Heidi Voss, who left flowers Thursday at the Islamic Center of Pflugerville, said, “If I worshiped here, if I met here, I’d want to know I have friends in the community, and that I had support.” The Emancipet vet clinic next to the mosque sent best wishes in a card, and they’ve gotten to know their neighbors better this week. Clinic manager Carrie Voss says, “They’ve always been wonderful neighbors to us the two and a half years we’ve been here and there’s no good reason for what happened other than fear.”

The Swansons’ have been swamped with local, network and international requests from television, radio and newspapers. Jack’s mom, Laura Swanson, says, “It is overwhelming. I think people need hope and good things to focus on. I’m happy my kid got to be part of that.” But Laura doesn’t want Jack or his two siblings to get swelled heads over this. She adds, “I want my kids to learn to keep doing those quiet deeds no one is going to know about.”

She doesn’t have to worry, his head and heart are in the right place. Jack says, “I would put it in a way that people could all understand, in a certain way, and know what’s going on. And get along.” The message is getting out. Thanks to social media, a friendship gathering for Muslims will meet this Saturday at 4:30 p.m. in the shopping center parking lot in front of the Islamic Center. The link to that event can be found here.

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