Wednesday, December 24

The Season of Giving: Short Stories of Kindness

How is it that in the season of giving I'm finding myself not only stunned by selfish behavoir, but by others being genuinely surprised by what I consider common courtesy?

Let me review...

Last week we had a lady come in and buy a large amount of one of our products. She already had a lot of bags, there were two other people in the store, so I offered to help her carry out her bags. She protested, but it was obvious that there was no way she was going to be able to carry everything she had already bought and this box of product. So I insisted, she relented, I got my coat and off we went...

Now for those of you that don't know, the Mall of America is a mile around. (If you walk from one entrance all the way back around to that same entrance you will have walked a mile, get it?) This lady was parked on the opposite side of the mall... On the farthest edge of the parking ramp.

She apologized about 50,000 times for having me come out there with her.

I said it was nothing, part of the job, I'm used to walking the mall etc....

We finally get her bags loaded, the woman has been nothing but kind, and out of no where she hands me a ten dollar bill.

Now it's MY turn to protest. I told her, please, no really, it's ok, it's my job, etc. She won't take no for an answer. I thank her, wish her a merry Christmas and start my way back.

Did I mention it was like 7 degrees outside that day?

So I'm getting ready to walk back into the mall and I hear my favorite bell ringer singing and wishing merry Christmases all around. A light goes off.

Here I'd been feeling bad about not being able to give much this year, feeling selfish myself. Despite how I'd spent many times waiting for my ride home talking to one of the bell ringers about how I couldn't understand how so many people can come out with so many bags on their arms yet one out of maybe every 30 to 50 people actually put ANYTHING in the bucket.

I walked up to this joyous bell ringer, said, "You know I just got a tip for walking this lady to her car, carrying a box for her, and honestly... Don't feel like I deserve it. I was just doing my job. I don't deserve it, but you do, out here every day singing and wishing people a merry Christmas." And with that I slipped the bill into the bucket.

I swear to god I think the man was about to cry. He gave me this big hug, called me the sweetest person and wished me a great day.

Ten dollars and I almost had a man in tears.

Let's really think about this for a moment. How much IS ten dollars to most of us? How much is it to the people that have a steady job, can live comfortably from that job? Maybe we don't have all the little luxuries, but ten dollars, really, it's not that much is it?

But with such a small act, I made someone's day. Honestly, now I'M starting to cry lol

I can't help but be in awe of the selfishness that people are accustom to. Why are we so tolerant of that kind of behavoir?

And that's not all... I have SEVERAL more stories to tell you about...

Two weeks ago my mom got a call, a man had a pilot out in his fireplace, mom happily offered to walk him through relighting it in order to save him the charge for a service call.

The man then quietly said, "You see ma'am, the problem is, I can't see..."

Mom said, "Oh... I understand. Well, it's (price) for a service call. I can have someone out there right away."

The man sighed and said, "I can't really afford that. I couldn't afford (price and company)'s price either." (They charge a good $50 less than we do.)

Mom thought for a minute and said, "Okay, let me see what I can do. I'll find something."

She kept his info on the desk until my dad got in. Dad saw the paper and asked what it was about. She told him he needed his pilot lit but couldn't afford the service call fee.

Dad, being my dad lol, made a smartass remark to which my mom replied, "Honey... he's blind."

My dad looked up at her and without a moments hesitation said, "Call him, I'll go do it right now. Tell him not to worry about the fee."

THESE are the people I was raised by. THESE are the people I am proud to call my parents.

But wait, I'm still not done.

We have a man working for us, named Jim. He went out to do a service call for a lady in a wheel chair. This honestly, is the most heartbreaking story I have. I cried when mom told me what happened.

Jim went to go fix her glass on her fireplace. It had fallen out and her being in a wheel chair, she couldn't put it back in. Instead she had duct taped plastic over the front to keep the cold from coming in. It upset Jim to see that no one had come over to help her. Jim's just that kind of man.

So he fixed the glass, went into the kitchen to wash up and saw two wheel chairs in the kitchen, torn apart. He looked at the lady and asked, "Um... Is there anything I can do to help with those?"

She shook her head, "No, no... The wheel on that one is over $1,000, and the other is just useless now..."

One of the chairs was blocking the door to the garage.

"Well, how about I move that one so you can at least get into the garage?"

"Oh... Oh would you mind? I don't want to put you out..."

"No trouble, really."

"Well... since you're here... Would you mind taking a look at the water heater as well? I haven't had any hot water since the fireplace went out."

Now, what had happened was this. Instead of turning off the gas at the fireplace, she had turned it off to the entire house. Over a week ago. She had shut off her water heater without knowing.

Jim lit the heater, and got her fireplace back in working order. He was very upset that this woman had no one checking on her, no one caring about whether or not she could get through a door or had hot water. No one to do something as simple as put glass back in a fireplace.

He asked my mom how long she thought it'd been since that lady felt like she COULD ask for help. What had to have happened to have beaten her down to the point that asking for a simple favor was out of the question?

This is the man that has worked for my parents for years and years. This is a man we consider a friend, a man that feels more like an uncle to me.

And one more stories, I swear this one is quick.

I had gotten off work earlier this week and mom was sick. She picked me up from work and I told her to stop by Walgreens, I could run in real quick and get her something. I picked up some Nyquil, Zicam, something to drink. As I made my way back over to the check out, three steps ahead of me a lady knocked over a container of kids novelty pencils.

She bent over to start picking them up the clerk told her not to bother, he'd get them in a minute. She said, "No, no, I knocked them over, I'll pick them up."

There were probably 50 pencils scattered on the floor.

I set my stuff on the floor and bent down to help her pick them up.

She looked up completely startled and said, "Oh! Well thank you!"

I gave her a big smile and said, "No problem."

She asked me if I worked there, I shook my head and said no, laughing a little.

Then she stopped for a moment and stared at me, "You mean, you're just a customer and you're helping me?"

"Well... Yeah. I was right here, no reason not to."

"Well!" She smiled really big. "You know, I think I'm going to do something nice for someone today too! Pass it on and all that!"

I laughed a little, "Pay it forward, yeah. Well, it is the holidays."

I picked up the last few pencils and put them back.

What stunned me about this, was her reaction. Her being stunned that another person would try to help just to help. And the reaction of "I think I'm going to do something nice for someone" was a little weird to me.

Why not do something nice just because you can? Just because you're there?

Why need a reason, a pay it forward?

Why not just do something nice, just to be nice?

So to moral of these stories is this...

Do good where you can, love everyone before they give you a chance to hate them, and always, always go that little extra for anyone you can.

Maybe it doesn't seem like much, but next to nothing is still more than nothing.

Did you witness a kindness lately? Maybe preformed one yourself? Let me know, I'd love to know the season of giving isn't selfish after all.

Merry Christmas!


Blogger a corgi said...

thanks for sharing these stories Lily, I was with you crying through some of these.

I don't know why people can't drop a few bucks in the Salvation Army bucket; a few months ago our church participated in a food drive for the local food bank; we passed out fliers at a grocery store asking people to buy something on the flier to contribute; it was amazing that people would come out with overflowing shopping carts and drinking a Starbucks coffee but would not have thought to buy one extra can of veggies or a box of cereal etc for the food drive.

I always try to look around to see how I can help people; it does confuse some when you are kind to them; they don't know how to handle it

Merry Christmas!!!!


24/12/08 9:05 PM  
Blogger Nicole said...

Sounds like you have been spreading some good cheer. I think most people only carry credit cards along anymore, especially when they shop, so that is why those santa's in front of places don't get as much as they used to in part.

24/12/08 11:31 PM  
Blogger emmapeelDallas said...

Merry Christmas, Lily! There are good and bad, generous and selfish people everywhere, but for the most part, I've been lucky to encounter goodness..

25/12/08 12:02 PM  
Blogger erarein63 said...

You are awesome! I don't think there are very many people who would go sooo far out of their way like you did. Happy New Year! Glad the job is working out well for you. De ;)

2/1/09 10:00 PM  

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