Tonight, as my girls & I were sitting down to dinner at our local Denny's, we noticed that a older gentleman came in & sat down behind us. This gentleman was about my father's age (60ish) and came in carrying a cardboard sign, a backpack and a duffel bag. He was dressed in several layers and looked so very weary. As my family went about ordering our meal, I felt compelled to make sure that this gentleman also had a warm and filling meal. I made my way to the hostess station to ask that a Grand Slam be added to my meal and that they not let the gentleman know who had purchased it for him. When the waitress brought over his tray full of food, I watched his face as it changed from shock and disbelief to pure thankfulness. He had tears streaming down his cheeks and he rubbed his tired eyes. Then, I watched as he crossed himself and said a prayer with his head bowed. I would like to believe that I helped to make his evening a bit brighter and let him know that kindness still exists in the world.
Over the years, I (either single-handedly or with my little family) have attempted to pay it forward or do random acts of kindness on several occasions. I really feel that I am blessed and that it is part of my obligation to help out those who may not be equally blessed just as others have helped me in times when I was struggling or hurting. I have purchased food for a homeless family, donated children's clothes & toys to a charter school for teen moms, helped local children have a gift to open on Christmas morning and many other things. I don't do it for the recognition, rather, I do it because it's the right thing to do and it makes me feel like I'm making a small difference in the life of someone who could use some happiness or good fortune.
The act of giving, of charity and of paying it forward is something that I am trying hard to pass on to my children. Hopefully, they are beginning to understand how blessed they really are to have the things that they do and the people in their lives who love them and take care of them. Coming home from dinner tonight, as I was explaining my actions to my oldest, I told her that it was my sincerest hope that she followed in my footsteps and helped other people out in any way that she good. Wouldn't you know...she asked if we could donate some of her toys and clothes to boys & girls who could use them. Bless her sweet little heart.
The world would be such of a wonderful place if everyone would just do something nice for a stranger, no matter how big or small. Everyone needs a helping hand sometimes and you never know how much of an impact that small gesture may have on that person's life. It's time to show the world that goodwill, empathy and charity still exists.