Ruby Chitsey has the kind of curiosity and caring heart not seen in every 11-year-old. She's been tagging along with her mother for quite a while now, and she always carries a note pad. It's not a school project or a plan for getting into the best college or career that consumes Ruby Chitsey’s attention. On the contrary, she comes to every resident she meets at the northwest Arkansas nursing home and asks a very unique and personal question.

“If you could have any three things, what would you want?” queries the schoolgirl.

The answers are surprising, and Ruby Chitsey went beyond satisfying her curiosity.

She founded her own charity to fulfill those simple but genuine wishes. The things needed for happiness grow less as the years pass, and the kind ear and jotting hand of a young friend like Ruby is priceless beyond measure at any age, and in any economy. Her hugs and deliveries from brimming-over baskets fulfill lives beyond her wildest dreams.

CBS News and CBS “Sunday Morning” followed along with Ruby on one of her recent wish-granting ventures for a March 3 feature.

Curious and caring enough to do more

“I don't think she had an intention, really,” insists mom, Amanda Chitsey, a nurse who travels to several area nursing homes, providing care, along with her inquisitive daughter’s brand of compassion.

The seed of becoming a real-life genie sprang from pure speculation of what residents’ answers would be.

The truth truly shocked Ruby. “I thought they would want money, houses, or Lamborghini’s,” says the conscientious schoolgirl.

The actual responses could never have been predicted, not even by CBS's veteran human interest correspondent, Steve Hartman.

Vienna sausage appeared more than seven times on Ruby’s list, alongside dreams for avocados and Dr. Pepper. That kind of gourmet appreciation is cultivated only by those of a certain generation.

“I love cheese,” Ruby agrees with one special resident.

Ruby and Amanda Chitsey soon realized that these simple requests were ones they could fill on their own, yet Ruby knew that needs like these were overflowing in other area nursing homes.

She began her GoFundMe campaign, “Three Wishes for Ruby’s Residents,” and her initiative is just shy of $100,000 currently.

No one should ever limit what an 11-year-old with a mission can do.

Real rewards

in a local interview, Ruby’s mom related how her daughter had seen practically every health situation that can happen in a nursing home filled with frail or elderly patients. She describes her daughter's ability to see nonverbal “kinds of suffering” as a “superpower,” one that never had to be taught.

Amanda Chitsey has been a geriatric nurse for 23 years and sees how Ruby brings healing of the spiritual and emotional variety.

Ruby Chitsey pushed a wheelchair packed with everything from edible treats (including Vienna sausage) to sneakers, pens, and shaving razors to her waiting residents’ rooms.

She delighted in telling one special recipient that she could eat her whole chocolate dessert “all by yourself.” Another was moved to tears by her gift of “watermelon and oranges.”

The sense of being so cherished by a child is the real treasure from the heart of Ruby Chitsey. She and her mom plan to grow “Three Wishes for Ruby’s Resident’s” nationwide.

“It really lifts you,” gushes the 11-year-old after a day of endless hugs for things as simple as cheese and crackers.

Whether she started with a grand intention or not, Ruby Chitsey understands that the joy of giving is the most meaningful gift in life.

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