Humans of AMHS: Ariadine Antonio

Humans of AMHS aims to showcase the individual stories within the Mitty community. Featured here is Ariadine Antonio, a member of the class of 2022.


It was just an ordinary Sunday, and like all ordinary Sundays, it was a day for my family to wake up, get dressed in our Sunday best, and head for the morning service. For seventh grade me, who was learning to make origami paper cranes in art class, it was also the perfect chance to hone my skills and practice what I had learned. So of course, I arrived at the morning service prepared with a stack of brightly colored sticky notes nestled in my pocket. We took our seats at the edge of the pew, and when a couple approached us searching for a place to sit, we didn’t think twice about making room for them. The man took his spot next to me, and I paid no attention to him as I diligently began to fold. Out of the corner of my eye, I noticed he was watching me. But chalking it up to his curiosity, I brushed it aside and continued the process of forming the crane––crease, fold, repeat. Shortly after, the mass started, so I hastily stowed away the stock of paper cranes into my pocket. However, in the middle of the service, my eyes were drawn once more towards the man. My parents always advised me to never stare at strangers so I made do with short, cursory glances. It seemed that the man was shuffling? I wasn’t too sure, and it didn’t interest me all that much, so I turned my attention back towards the service for the duration of the mass. 

An hour later, mass ended with its final song, cueing my family and me to rise from our seats and prepare to head home. Another weekly service over. As I maneuvered my way out of the pew, I felt a tap on my shoulder and swiveled around to greet the man behind me. In confusion, my gaze lowered to his enclosed hands. He unfolded them. Created from the church donation envelopes nested in the wicker baskets at the entrance of the chapel, a little origami turtle sat perched in his open palms. He kindly gestured for me to accept it. Mouth agape, I stared at him awestruck. Seemingly insignificant details pieced themselves together: the staring, the shuffling—it all made complete sense now. My younger brother, who was a bystander to the whole event, shared in my astonishment.

The origami turtle, created from the church envelopes, alongside the tiny paper cranes that Ariadine made as a child

“Oh my gosh! Ate*, he just gave you a turtle!”

“I know, I know! Isn’t that so cool?”

Scrambling to our family, our hearts were practically racing with excitement, eager to retell what had just transpired only moments before. During the ride back home, the car was filled with conversations about the kind stranger–how compassionate he was, how cool his origami skills were. My knowledge of origami only extended to paper cranes, so the folds and creases of the turtle were both foreign and incredibly fascinating to me. Upon arriving home, I immediately placed it on my bookshelf, clearing a place for it alongside my other trinkets. 

Now, four years later, the little turtle sits in its home: my new bookshelf where it’s still visible for those who come into my room. In comparison to the younger me who viewed the turtle as a cool, newfound treasure, I reminisce about it now and realize just how significant the gesture itself was to me. I’m a very sentimental person, so the added years of nostalgia were what probably gave a new layer of value to the gift. Unfortunately, I never saw the couple or the man again. In fact, I don’t even recall what their faces looked like or know if I would recognize them, but picturing that folded turtle in open hands, I’m always reminded that human kindness can flourish in the most ordinary moments.


*Ate is a Tagalog term used by people in the Philippines to describe their older sister