Updated: Mar 19, 2020
It had been a long day. All I wanted was a bowl of chocolate chip cookie dough, a shower, and to hang out with the family. I pull up in my driveway, push the garage door opener, and immediately groan...... I remember I was supposed to stop by the grocery store and pick up something to cook for dinner. It was “Taco Tuesday” and if those boys don’t have their tacos, and nachos, and something to drink, they are not going to be happy. I throw the car into reverse, take a deep breathe, and drive out of the cul-de-sac. I remember mapping out my trip. First get the tortilla chips, salsa, ground turkey, cheese, and sour cream. Last on the list is always the ice cream. It’s the closest to the self- scanner and I wanted to make sure I took less than 15 minutes in the store. There were a few people in the aisle mulling over the seemingly unending choices.
Everyone seemed to be focused on their task of making their selection and getting out of the store. Everyone except for an elderly gentlemen, who looked to be in distress as he walked towards me.
“Excuse me”, he said quietly. “Will you help me for a moment ma’am”? I looked up at his face and noticed he was crying. I gently put my hand on his shoulder and said, “Why are you crying sir?”
He took off his hat, held it to his heart, and began shaking his head. As tears flowed down his face, he choked up as he began to tell me that his wife was fighting cancer and he was recovering from a stroke. He went on to tell me that he was having a bad day, and couldn’t read the labels on the cartons.
“I tried getting the attention of someone, but no one seemed to hear me”, he said in his thick country drawl. I turned my head, looked around and saw that everyone seemed to be focused on their grocery lists, talking to the person with them, or looking down at their phone.
“What’s your name?”, I asked. He wiped his eyes and whispered, “Grover”. I smiled because Mr. Grover was 6’4, with overalls, a white t shirt, and work boots. His sweet demeanor made my heart swell. Together, we looked for the sugar free vanilla ice cream for a couple of moments. When we located the right brand and flavor, I handed him the ice cream, and he began to cry again.
“You are a gift from God”, he cried. I assured him it was my pleasure, and told him that I was going to walk with him to the register. In his cart, Grover had medication from the pharmacy, 2 cartons of ice cream, watermelon, and a gallon of milk. I questioned if he needed to shop more to get dinner.
“My wife wants a baked potato from Wendy’s, I need to hurry back to her before she falls asleep”, he told me”. We hurried to the self-checkout and I scanned his items. The total was $8.07. While he fumbled for his card to pay I handed him a receipt, I had already swiped my card to pay for his items. Once again Grover began to tear up. “God Bless you young lady, you made my day”, he whispered, and gave me a little smile. He told me that he had the money, but to me, that wasn’t the point. I was led to serve. I was happy to have him stress about one less thing. I was relieved to have seen his smile.
All it took was one act.
Being present in the moment allowed me to notice someone was in need. Caring about one another is the key to building community and restoring hope. The power of one is mighty. One word, one act, one moment can change perception and empower another to believe. You may not meet a Grover as you move through your days, but the way you treat people may affect them in ways you can never imagine.
I challenge you to be intentional as you move through your day:
Post Up- Send someone a note if you know they are having a bad day, if they are celebrating a great occasion or accomplishment, or better yet, just do it to say hello! (I use sticky notes to help me accomplish this. It’s simple, and cheap.)
Speak Life- Sometimes you will need to encourage someone in your community. You can’t live life alone. Doing life with others and building relationships will create a circle of friends and family who will return the favor when you are in need. (Sometimes you have to encourage yourself)
Respond with Love- Remember your first reaction to any situation should be made with kindness, with love. We all get annoyed sometimes, and we all annoy others at times. How would you like someone to treat you? (The golden rule)
Ok, so back to the story. I gave Grover my personal business card and asked if he would call me when he made it home. He said that he would. He did not call me that night, but he called me the next morning and said, “I am so glad to have met you. You reminded me there are good people in this world”. I told Grover that I was going to check on him and his wife periodically. I want him to know that he has a new friend.
I am working on a project, and would love to hear a story that you have about your random act of kindness!
Hope to hear from some of you soon!