A few weeks ago, a complete stranger approached our family as we ate dinner downtown at a restaurant after an evening of family fun. He handed us a $100 bill and told us to put it towards Meredith’s education. It appears that my ever social and flirtatious young one had been making cute faces at this guy all throughout dinner and he became quite taken with her, as many people do. Who can blame him? She is pretty adorable.
(This was the look I got when I asked her to show me her Christmas face.)
Anyway, long story short, we chatted with the guy for a while about his life and that $100 is now in her savings account.
The thing that struck me the most about this experience though was how such a random act of kindness made our already amazing night out celebrating the Christmas season, so much more memorable and amazing. It is what the Christmas season should really be all about. Not giving because we have to or giving everything to those who already have so much. It’s about giving a small sacrifice of yourself (not necessarily monetary) to those who aren’t expecting it. It is about people and making the world we live in a better one for ourselves, our kids and everyone else in it.
Randomly the other week I was thinking about what I would do if I had 3 wishes. Beyond the big ticket, egocentric items, such as paying off Dave’s student loans, I realized that my list was fairly easy for me to come up with. Although it is a little random.
1) I would wish that my gas tank would always be full. I HATE going to the gas station. It would be nice if I never had to pay for it as well, but I would settle for it just magically appearing in my tank, even if it did still cost me. (This one is still selfishly all about me, but I was filling up my tank when I started thinking about this.)
2) I would take away true sadness. Not simple tears from life’s disappointments, but that deep down, soul changing grief that no one should ever have to experience. The kind of sadness that comes from losing a child too soon or that drives a person to suicide. I can’t imagine living with that kind of pain.
3) I would want to have the ability to gift people with small unexpected acts of kindness on a daily basis. If I had all the money in the world, I would make a habit of buying people’s meals for them or paying for a month’s rent. You never know what something like this would mean to the person you are giving to. And that is what makes it amazing… you don’t know the impact, but you do it anyway. Because you can.
The man who gave us the money had no way of knowing that my husband has been laid off from his job for several years. And even though Dave is thankfully (finally!) working again, the money he gave us, though small in his eyes, was huge in meaning for us.
So since experiencing a financial windfall is not likely in my near future, I am making it a goal for this year to look for ways I can “gift” the people I encounter in my life by actions, intentions or words.
And I will always be grateful to our new friend from Oklahoma who saw beauty and potential in a little girl.