Friday, December 21, 2012

Simple Unexpected Kindness

It was one of those days.  It was a somber morning full of reflection by our nation, and the world, on the recent loss of innocent children and adults last week.  There was also some buzz that this day had come and we were all still here.

So what does salted butter, a mattress, shopping carts, and cookie tins have to do with one another?

I took Bela to school like any other day, and then went to work at church.  Part of my afternoon was spent outdoors changing the lettering on our church sign.  It was being changed from: "Don't leave Christ out of your Christmas" to "All God wants for Christmas is you!" As I scratched my head, struggling to make all of the letters fit where legibly on each line, a small SUV pulled into the church parking lot.  It drove forward then made the turnaround and parked near where I was.  An older couple got out of the car and started approaching me.  I greeted them and asked if they needed any help.  They motioned behind me towards the street and said, "No, we are just here to pick up the mattress that fell off the top of our car a little while ago." I spun around and there indeed was a mattress on the side of the road, actually box springs. I again offered help, and they politely declined.

After a few moments, I noticed they were having trouble lifting it for any distance, so I walked over and picked up the slack in the middle.  Between the three of us, we were still having some awkward trouble carrying it.  Enter three teenage looking boys from out of nowhere! They rushed up and grabbed a couple of spots and hefted the mattress with ease to the couples' SUV.  The teens insisted on helping the couple tie it down as to avoid another mattress mishap.  The couple were thrilled and accepted their help.

We left each other with some smiles, and comments all around about how we were all in the right place at the right time.  We wished each other a Merry Christmas.  I couldn't help but glance over at the church sign, to my unfinished text which only read... "All God wants..." 

Pretty soon it was time to go and pick up Bela from school.  After, we drove over to our local Dollar Store to pick up some cookie tins for Christmas cookie gifts for family.  We picked up a few in our cart and got in the rather long line.  The lady in front of me took notice, verbally and loudly, that there was only one cashier. I could feel her frustration, but mentally noted that I was free for the afternoon, and Bela and I were looking forward to baking together.  We were in no rush.  Once the lady in front of me pulled up to be checked out, she placed the "divider" on the conveyor belt to separate her items from the ones I might soon be adding.  Suddenly the shopper reaches down to the front end of my cart and begins lifting my cookie tins onto the conveyor belt for us.  (We were still both behind the cart and could not reach our items quite yet.) She smiled up at me and said, "Merry Christmas." We both smiled and thanked her and wished her the very same.  

Once we had checked out, Bela and I left the store pushing our cart over to our car.  As we neared our car, an older gentlemen was just pushing his cart out of the way and entering his car to leave.  His cart, along with another one near it, started rolling quickly towards a few parked cars near mine.  The wind was really helping them along too.  Bela and I ran over and grabbed all four carts and decided to walk them back into the store. I have to admit I rarely do that.  I am the "once you're done, push the cart into the cart corral kind-of-a-gal," but I hardly ever walk it all the way back into the store.  I am not proud to admit that.  But it felt like a great, pay it forward moment, after what had just happened in the store.

Our next stop was the grocery store for a few baking ingredients.  I needed flour, sugar, and salted butter. Wow, was I on a roll! I found the flour and sugar on sale.  We rolled our little cart over to the dairy section and was very pleasantly surprised to see that the store brand butter was on sale too! Yay me! Unfortunately they were out of salted butter.  Now I realize for most people, this would not be a big deal.  But a hundred years ago I heard Paula Deen say she only used salted butter, even in her baking.  I took that to heart.  :) While I debated grabbing salted butter in the more expensive name brand, another shopper walked up.  She too was looking for the store brand salted butter that was on sale.  She seemed a bit perturbed that they were out.  I smiled and said, "oh well.  Regular butter will do.  Merry Christmas," and walked away with the store brand unsalted butter.  I figured the cookies would still be good.  Bela and I headed for the check out counter, and had just finished paying when the lady from the dairy section came jogging towards me with her arm held high carrying a box of salted butter yelling, "Ma'am, ma'am! I found some salted butter for you!" I could not believe that she had chased me down just to give me a box of butter.  It was very sweet, and so much appreciated!

I believe that these ordinary items were just catalysts for everyday people to perform unexpected kindness towards one another.  

Individually, they do not seem like much.  Add them up all together, and it equals one amazing day.  

1 comment:

  1. Wow! What a wonderful day you and Bela had! I love it when things "seem to go well and everyone involved has a bigger smile"! I enjoyed reading this immensely! All God wants..