A Woman Celebrated Her 21st Birthday With 21 Kind Acts... Which Is Probably Not How You Celebrated Yours

Generally, if a 21st birthday makes the news, it's because the copious amounts of alcohol landed someone in jail for getting into a bar fight, or in the hospital after they fell off the stage while being serenaded in a lesbian bar on karaoke night — not that I have experience with either situation, of course. That is not the case for Alexa Sexton, however, aka the woman who celebrated her 21st birthday with 21 acts of kindness across her hometown of Bristol, TN. Is anyone else suddenly feeling way awkward about their decidedly hazy memories of the night they turned 21, or is that just me? Oh, it is just me? Now I feel even more awkward.

Appropriately, Sexton began April 25th by giving her mother a gift, the Bristol Herald-Courier reports. "I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for her,” Sexton told the newspaper. “She went through 16 hours of labor to birth me so I felt the most important thing for me to do was give her a present on my birthday." According to FOX Atlanta, she then spent the next nine hours traveling around the city with her friends, including bringing donuts to firefighters, dropping off food for people in the waiting rooms at a local hospital, and putting change in parking meters for others to find. Bristol may have less than 27,000 residents, but even without the traffic of a big city, Sexton probably saved at least one stranger from a parking ticket.

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Sexton told the Herald-Courier that she used to be a pampered "princess" before her baptism last year. It wasn't until a few weeks before her birthday, however, that she decided to give back to the community. A fateful encounter at Wal-Mart was her inspiration — or, rather, a lack thereof. She claims that she went the entire shopping trip without speaking to anyone, which she attributes to technology. "We’re so stuck in our phones and absorbed by social media that we don’t know how to have human relationships," she said. That fateful Wal-Mart trip made her decide to "make a difference, to... look people in the eye and try and show people that there are still young people in the world that care."

Sexton had so much fun giving back to others that she says she will continue the tradition in years to come. In fact, she hopes that her little sister will be inspired to do the same. "It fills your heart in an unexplainable way," she told the Herald-Courier, "and it would be awesome for her to experience that feeling at such a young age.”

Say it with me now: awwwww.

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Maybe her story will inspire others around the country to do the same. If you're more into the traditional birthday celebration, however, don't feel bad. I'm a pretty big fan of the epic birthday party blowout too. If you want to give back, though, maybe try buying one of your guests a shot for a change. It combines two things: alcohol and giving back! Also, it reduces the chances of you inadvertently staging a recreation of The Hangover the next day, so it's basically a win-win.

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Images: Scott Akerman/Flickr, Giphy (3)