Ed Bray stormed the beach at Normandy during World War II, earning two purple hearts. And yet, the toughest thing the 89-year-old said he had to face in his life was his illiteracy. For decades, Bray went to extraordinary efforts to keep his inability to read or write a secret. While on the job at an Air Force base, he had a coworker help him with documents. At home, his wife did the same for 62 years until her death in 2009. Finally, the determination to shed the shame and learn how to read broke through. "I want to read one book," he said. "I don't care if it's about Mickey Mouse. I want to read one book before I die."
In early 2013, Bray found Professor Tobi Thompson at Oklahoma's Northeastern University. Her patient and dedicated attitude helped Bray accomplish what he never thought possible. In February the veteran read his first book, a grade-school biography of George Washington. "It just makes me feel good," Bray said. He's since gone on to read three books, and has no plan to stop now.
What this story teaches KAE:
way we can, judgment automatically rears its ugly head. Subconsciously or not. When we first read this story, we immediately began to think of the ways Ed may have tried to hide his illiteracies in public. We also thought of what others may have assumed when seeing him struggle.They may have automatically drew conclusions about his ability. His worth. Ultimately, his story. And indubitably treat him based on the outcome of those conclusions. Negative thoughts surely included. To assume Ed’s ability would be to rob him of his strength and diminish the impact he has had on this country.We tend to judge people's character by our own normalcies. If someone cannot do the same things we can, or even the same
KAE is a brand that promotes kindness but is also at fault for drawing conclusions as well. We will never claim perfection however, we will certainly hold ourselves accountable when we find ourselves putting kindness on the back burner. This story serves as a reminder that we will never know the entirety of another person’s story so we must tread lightly. Learn others. Hold off on assumed perception. It's important to remember that this reminder goes beyond American borders. We encourage you to use this weekend not only to enjoy the nice weather, wait anxiously for summer, or enjoy a good BBQ, but to think of the sacrifices others have made, either for you or for their loved others. Understand that we are all in this race together and in order for us to reach the finish line, we must believe in each other’s ability.
Think KAE. Choose KAE.