A few years ago I read a post on Running Through Time. The post was about a family with low income. A coal miner or farmer, I don’t remember had promised his son a specific gift for Christmas, but when Christmas came the father asked the kid to chop some wood, help him load the pick up and deliver the wood and food to a family which had lost their bread winner. The reading impacted me, it made me smile and cry at the same time. How hard it is to do something for a stranger when what is given to that stranger is needed in one’s household.
Yesterday another blogger posted a link to “35 pictures that prove the world isn't such a bad place”. I looked at each one and smiled at most. One of them grabbed me; a stranger left a note on a car telling that person their tires were worn out and giving them specific instructions on how to get a new set paid for. The writer explained a favor had been done onto him/her in the past by a stranger and he was passing it on. The note had one stipulation “one day do something for a stranger”.
Today I went on my merry way rehearsing the list of things to do and lamenting not being able to go to the gym. At a traffic light there was a homeless man with a sign. The car in front of me opened the window and offered him a bill. I had no cash so I kept driving. I put my blinker on and proceeded to enter the highway. A man in his late 50s or mid 60s walked with a teenager girl and a boy. I came to a complete stop and motioned for them to cross, the man nodded and walked on crossing the intersection. As I started driving I noticed the boy was crying. “Are you okay?” The man started to say yes, then stopped and with a credit card in his hand said “I went to get a few things for the house. My card didn’t go through so he is crying because there is no food”. The three stared at me. I told him “I don’t have any cash. I’ll see you soon.” I turned around and went to my bank and withdrew some money. The teller told me the bank is open on Sunday because there are many customers shopping who need cash. “Are you still shopping?” No, I said. I hope somebody else will. She smiled not understanding.
I back tracked my drive and found the family. I put a note in the envelope “All I ask is that you spend it for the good of your family”. I handed the envelope to the man, said “Merry Christmas”. The man shook my hand, said something about his situation and I walked back to my car. There were no tears or hugs nor big thank you- thank you! Just a hand shake.
I don’t have the money this Christmas to give away, but it doesn’t matter. I did what my heart told me to do. I don’t know what their situation is, I don’t need to know.
I am telling this story not to hear what a great philanthropic act this is. I am not seeking those comments nor want them. But there is a reason why I am telling you this, one day do something for a total stranger. Pass it on.