Editor's note: This story was originally posted on Rochester Patch on Nov. 28; it has been chosen as Huffington Post's Greatest Person of the Day. See the story as it appears on The Huffington Post here.
Rochester Hills, Mich. - It was Thanksgiving morning when 9-year-old Nicole Bernstein, out for a walk with her family, learned about the random crime that would spur her to action.
The Bernsteins live near the Rochester Hills Museum at Van Hoosen Farm; the night before Thanksgiving, vandals smashed several concrete animal statues and other pottery in the Children's Garden at the museum. Some light fixtures and a park bench were also destroyed.
That morning, while walking their dog, the Bernsteins ran into museum director Patrick McKay, who was outside cleaning up the mess.
"As frequent visitors to the museum, they too were shocked," said McKay about the Bernsteins.
In the days that followed, as McKay describes it, daughter Nicole "sprang to action."
Nicole counted her money — she had $36 — and took it to a nearby store that sells pottery. She bought a pig statue, named the pig Wilbur and brought it to the museum on Tuesday.
"I bought it with my own money because I really was not happy that the vandalism happened, because I love that place," she said.
She used allowance money from her grandma to buy the statue, which she said fits with the farm theme of the garden. She named it for the pig in a favorite book, Charlotte's Web.
"I wanted to help Van Hoosen after the vandalism because I knew some people would be unhappy about what people did to the garden," she said.
Nicole's dad, Phil, said the donation was all his daughter's idea. "I was a little bit shocked, but she didn't think twice about it. We offered to pay for half the statue, but she wanted to do this."
Nicole, a fourth-grader at Hugger Elementary School, loves animals and has donated her own money in the past to the Michigan Humane Society, her dad said.
McKay, the museum director, said he was "speechless."
He said Wilbur will be kept inside until spring, when Nicole can help him pick the best location for the statue. He said the vandalism at the museum amounted to about $1,000 in damage — though there is no price on the labor of love that went into creating the garden. "I find it amazing that such a frustrating event can have such a positive ending," he said.