The other night I was at the grocery store at the self checkout and I found $20 in the cash output. I looked around, and pocketed the cash, debating whether I should hand it over to customer service and thinking that would be the right thing to do, unless the person never came back, then keeping it would be the right thing, no? Well, right as I was finishing up I heard someone at customer service with disappointment in their voice, what did you say? I asked. Huh? Oh, I left my money in the thing. Sad face. I have it. Happy face! Oh wow, thank you so much!
As I was leaving the store I saw a mother of a newborn and her small toddler getting situated in the cart. Do you need any diapers? I asked her. I have a ton of diapers in my car, and I don't need them so I wanted to give them to someone who could use them. I totally overstocked on diapers and Flynn just grows so fast! I was going to give them to my friend but we never ended up meeting up and they had been sitting in there for a month. I have newborn, size one, size two, and size three. Do you want them? I literally had a trunk full of diapers. Oh yes, yes please! This woman was with her mother and they both looked so surprised, the woman almost started crying. Can you believe this? The mother asked. No, it's like a dream, I can't even believe it. Turns out this woman's husband had recently died, and they were really struggling. You don't even know the blessing you are bestowing right now, God bless you, she told me.
I drove home that night with the most incredible lightness and happy feelings. I had truly never felt this way. I didn't go out of my way or anything, but it just felt so good to help someone out that really needed it. C laughed that night when I told him how amazing it would be to be Santa Claus. It really would!
Over ten years ago I was a nanny for this kind of awful family, the kid was great, the parents not so much. I wasn't allowed to stay at home with him ever, I had to take this boy of 8 out every day to the park, to the zoo, to the museum, to the movies. If he napped, it was in the car. The best part is that they never reimbursed me for gas, or offered any extra money for it. (He was special needs so I was paid through the state.) The real clincher here is that I didn't get my first paycheck for over a month and I was totally broke.
Looking back now I see that I should have spoken up and asked for money, but I didn't know how things worked then. I was having a really hard time, I was almost out of gas, I had borrowed a ton of money from parents and friends, and I was just down. Out of nowhere this man approached me, he recognized me from years before when I worked at the grocery store. How are you? You were my favorite cashier! and he hands me $20. A couple of days later I was at church with the kid and an older, sweet lady tucks $20 in my hand. You're such a good mommy to him, you go get yourselves a treat. I told her I was his nanny, but she said to keep it anyways.
I will never forget those kindnesses bestowed on me at that time, their generosity really helped me to adjust my attitude to one of gratitude. This season is supposed to be about GIVING, and I hope that I encounter more opportunities to offer something to someone in need, that feeling man, nothing else like it.
I also just remembered that my good friend had lent me over $300 at the time, and when I finally got paid, she said I didn't have to pay her back! Hah! Thanks Ann!