Saturday, December 23, 2006

Thinking Past Christmas

I love that Christmas brings out the generosity in people. Take for example, an experience that I had in Wal-Mart this week.

I was standing in line, paying for some last minute Christmas gifts. The woman ahead of me kept looking over her shoulder. Sure that it had something to do with the fact that I’d almost rammed her with my cart twice, I sent her an apologetic smile. She seemed to be in a major rush to leave after paying for her items. So much so that she almost forgot one of her bags.

“Sorry.” She laughed and grabbed the last bag. “I’m so scatter-brained today.”

She hurried off before I could say, “Join the club.”

As the cashier bagged my items she asked. “Do you know that woman?”


Then the cashier set some folded money on the counter in front of me. “Here. For you.”

Assuming that she was encourage me to keep what some pour soul had lost, I said, “Oh no. That isn’t mine.”

“The woman ahead of you left it.”

“She might come back for it though.” I can’t take money that doesn’t belong to me even if I know that the owner is probably miles from the place where they dropped it.

“No no. She left it for you. It’s $10. She said to apply it to your bill. That’s why I figured the two of you knew each other.”

I tried to picture the woman. Did I know her from church? A past job? Had she taken one of my writing workshops through Park and Rec? Nope. “I didn’t recognize her.”

“Well, your bill is $10 less today. That’s probably why she was in such a hurry. She knew you’d refuse it.”

And I probably would have. Instead I got a surprise discount!

“I hope she didn’t do it because I looked poor, or helpless or something,” I told my friend when she picked me up. I mean, I did almost ram the woman with my cart. If such accidents don’t annoy people, it clues them in to my low vision, sometimes provoking unnecessary sympathy, particularly in senior citizens. “Oh, the poor thing.”

“I can assure you that wasn’t the case,” Jane assured me. “Someone probably just wanted to spread a little Christmas cheer.”

Later my husband, who works for a grocery chain, told me that he has had many customers slip him money to apply to the next person’s bill.

“It must be a Christmas thing,” I decided.”

“I think it is.”

Remembering how good it felt to have a stranger do something nice for me made me want to go out and do the same for someone else. Since I don’t plan to step foot in a store until well after Christmas, I’ve decided to pass on the kindness after the holidays are over. After all, why should unusual generosity only be a Christmas thing? I took this experience as a nudge from God to look for opportunities to spread unexpected kindness year round.

Why do you think Christmas brings out the generosity in us? In what ways are you more generous this time of year? Consider how you might carry this spirit of kindness into 2007.

I’d love to read some ideas for random acts of kindness and generosity. If you had an extra $10 how would you use it to bless someone else?

Have a blessed Christmas!


Erin said...

That's a great story!

Julie Garmon said...

Loved this post!!


T. Suzanne Eller said...

Pay it forward!