Every once in a while I pass one of those black-on-orange signs that says "Rough Road Ahead." They're never in a spot where it would be safe to pull over for a photo, or I would've done it long ago. I think to myself, "If only we got those warnings when we're about to hit a rough patch in life." But probably it's best that we don't, or sometimes we might seriously not want to go on, even just to do the next thing .
Yesterday was like that. Without warning, I hit a rough patch and didn't get one productive thing done, until finally, after supper, I trundled off to the local Sprouts to buy a bit of food, a gallon refill of purified water, and some contraband items. The sum total of my productivity. When my purchases had been rung up, I felt for my fanny pack, and it wasn't there.
"You're not going to believe this," I said to the clerk. Of course she probably did believe it because it probably happens all the time. "I don't have my money with me." I felt a hint of despair in my voice. "It's at home."
"At home?" She sounded slightly incredulous, like it would've been nothing if it had been in a car in the parking lot, but "at home" was too much for her day.
"It's just a 5-minute walk," I said. More like seven.
"Okay. Just leave it over there," she pointed to an unused checkstand.
"Oh, but there's ice cream in it."
The customer behind me, a woman I'd just thanked earlier for moving her cart so I could get past, said, "I'll pay for it."
Still feeling crummy but stunned and grateful, I thanked her several times.
"It happens to all of us," she said. "It would be awful to have to walk all the way back home. Just don't let that ice cream melt."
The clerk at the next checkstand, turned around and said, "Random acts of kindness! I love it!"
Walking home I thought, It's usually me giving to people I don't know. This doesn't happen to me. Especially not on a day like this one.
I was even more surprised by what happened when I got home. I posted the little story on Facebook, and the response was overwhelming--immediate and by many, including people who seldom respond to my posts. It made me realize how hungry we are to see goodness in each other, how precious those random acts of kindness are–not only to the recipients but to those who witness them. Because it's hard being a human being. A little softness goes a long way, and it's important to share it with each other when it happens. If you have a story like this to share, please feel free to leave one (or more) in the comments.