Best Of, Life Lessons

When an Act of Kindness looks like a Large Fry

This is not a post to say, ” Look at me! I’m awesome!”

I’m not looking for pats on the back, kudos, or any sort of affirmations.

It’s a post to show how simple it can be to bring light into someone’s day with an Act of Kindness.

It was the Saturday after Black Friday and, out of sheer need for things like feminine products and groceries, my daughter and I decided to brave the crowds and make a run to Wal-mart. Hand-in-hand, we approached the entrance and were cheerfully greeted by an older man in a motorized wheelchair stationed next to the Salvation Army Red Kettle outside the Exit door.

“Good afternoon, ladies!” He was bundled from head to toe because Minnesota winters (even in November) are stinkin’ cold, but I could see his eyes, nose, and smile. His bell rang with a steady rhythm.

“Good afternoon to you too!” I answered. I knew this poor man had to be chilled to the bone. The past week had been one of “unseasonably cold temps,” yet this older man was dedicated to the cause and was volunteering anyway.

He was still on my mind as we quickly gathered our needs inside the store and headed to check out. “Mom, can I get a large fry at McDonald’s?” my daughter asked.  Even at almost 13, McDonald’s fries are pretty hard for her to resist.

“Yes, and let’s get one for the bell ringer too,” I answered.

“Why?” my daughter asked, surprised.

“Because if you were outside, freezing your tail off, wouldn’t a piping hot large french fry brighten your day?”

She nodded in agreement and we headed to the in-store Mickey Dees. A few minutes later, with separately bagged fries in hand, we exited and once again were greeted by our exuberant Red-Kettle-Bell-Ringer-guy. “You ladies have a wonderful day,” his dark eyes crinkled at the corners as he smiled behind his frosty scarf.

“Are you cold?” I asked as I tucked a couple of dollar bills into his kettle.

He paused, “A little.”

“This will warm you up.” The warm food bag crinkled in his hands and his eyes widened with surprise.

“Thank you,” he said softly. “Thank you so much.”

As we walked away, I could hear that his bell ringing had ceased. I glanced back and saw that he had maneuvered his chair into the somewhat heated Wal-mart entrance and was eating his fried with gusto.

“I’m glad we did that,” my daughter murmured.

“Me too. Do you see how the littlest kindnesses can mean a lot? For three bucks, we brightened someone’s day.”

It’s just that simple. Seriously.

So, how can YOU brighten someone’s day today?

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