Short Story About An Act Of Kindness

Hello Friends,

Hope all is well. Take a look at this short story and then the video that follows. Remember to find some way to perform an act of kindness. Opportunities will present itself. Be sure to be ready when it does. No act of kindness is too small. Many blessings, and thanks for listening.

No Small Act of Kindness
A panhandler shows me that nothing is too small or insignificant to effect change.
By Donna Wick

*Reprinted with permission from Chicken Soup for the Soul.

The day was Thankful Thursday, our "designated day" of service. It's a weekly tradition that my two little girls and I began years ago. Thursday has become our day to go out in the world and make a positive contribution. On this particular Thursday, we had no idea exactly what we were going to do, but we knew that something would present itself.

Driving along a busy Houston road, praying for guidance in our quest to fulfill our weekly Act of Kindness, the noon hour appropriately triggered hunger pangs in my two little ones. They wasted no time in letting me know, chanting, "McDonald's, McDonald's, McDonald's" as we drove along. I relented and began searching earnestly for the nearest McDonald's. Suddenly I realized that almost every intersection I passed through was occupied by a panhandler. And then it hit me! If my two little ones were hungry, then all these panhandlers must be hungry, too. Perfect! Our Act of Kindness had presented itself. We were going to buy lunch for the panhandlers.

After finding a McDonald's and ordering two Happy Meals for my girls, I ordered an additional 15 lunches and we set out to deliver them. It was exhilarating. We would pull alongside a panhandler, make a contribution, and tell him or her that we hoped things got better. Then we'd say, "Oh, by the way…here's lunch." And then we would varoom off to the next intersection.

It was the best way to give. There wasn't enough time for us to introduce ourselves or explain what we were going to do, nor was there time for them to say anything back to us. The Act of Kindness was anonymous and empowering for each of us, and we loved what we saw in the rear view mirror: a surprised and delighted person holding up his lunch bag and just looking at us as we drove off. It was wonderful!

We had come to the end of our "route" and there was a small woman standing there, asking for change. We handed her our final contribution and lunch bag, and then immediately made a U-turn to head back in the opposite direction for home. Unfortunately, the light caught us again and we were stopped at the same intersection where this little woman stood. I was embarrassed and didn't know quite how to behave. I didn't want her to feel obligated to say or do anything.

She made her way to our car, so I put the window down just as she started to speak. "No one has ever done anything like this for me before," she said with amazement. I replied, "Well, I'm glad that we were the first." Feeling uneasy, and wanting to move the conversation along, I asked, "So, when do you think you'll eat your lunch?"

She just looked at me with her huge, tired brown eyes and said, "Oh honey, I'm not going to eat this lunch." I was confused, but before I could say anything, she continued. "You see, I have a little girl of my own at home and she just loves McDonald's, but I can never buy it for her because I just don't have the money. But you know what…tonight she is going to have McDonald's!"

I don't know if the kids noticed the tears in my eyes. So many times I had questioned whether our Acts of Kindness were too small or insignificant to really effect change. Yet in that moment, I recognized the truth of Mother Teresa's words: "We cannot do great things - only small things with great love."

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