Friday, January 18, 2013

Random Act of Kindness

It was last summer, but I still remember it like it was last week.

A month or more before, we had seen a toy at the store,
and I knew from the moment I spotted it that Levi would not want to part with it.

It was a squid,
but the great part was that the legs on the thing were created to swoop around
and the squid then looked like it was...


(is that what squids do?)...

across the floor.

But the price tag reflected the abilities of the toy,
and I knew he'd have to put it back.

I told Levi that,
and he set it back, not too happily,
 but knowing that these battles never ended in his favor.

And then the memorable day,
the one I'm referring to,

We had stopped at the second hand store to pick up old bread for the pigs.
The kids had said hello to the workers and then headed to the toy aisle to see what new toys
were on the shelves.

I had barely made it through the front door
when Levi nearly ran into me,
"Look, Mom, look what they have here today!
It's the very same squid, the exact one that you said was too much at the store,
they have it here.
It's not too much now, is it?"

The couple other shoppers standing nearby couldn't help but stop and smile at Levi's obvious excitement.

I could barely believe it, knowing that God must have sent that thing
because there was no way I was ever buying it at the price it was before.

But I didn't want Levi to know since I still wanted to get it for his birthday,
so I said,
"Hmmm, well, now, I don't know.  That may be too expensive still,
but maybe we could get it for your birthday.
You'll have to put it back and see."

Levi's face turned to a frown as he set it back.

I didn't realize the other shoppers were listening in on our conversation,
(I suppose whether they wanted to or not),
but also that my intention of buying the squid was probably lost to them.

In a few moments,
an older, thin gentleman, with a beard as white but only half the length of Santa Claus',
approached me and Levi,
squid in hand.
"Here you are, son,"
he said, as he handed it to him.
"I bought this for you."
Levi looked at the squid, and then the man, and then me,
"You bought this for me?" Levi asked.
"Yes, I did.  It's all paid for,"
and he pointed to the clerk, and she smiled and nodded 'yes'.

"This nice gentleman bought the squid for you, Levi."
I was unsure what to say.
"You didn't have to do that, Sir."

"I know I didn't.
  I wanted to."

"Thank you!" Levi responded, as he hugged the squid and set it on the floor
to watch it 'slosh' away.

It looked as if the older man had as much enjoyment watching my son,
as my son did watching the squid.

"Thank you," I said, touching the older man's arm.
"That was really thoughtful of you."

He left the store shortly after that
and I've never seen him again,
but that kind gesture, that random act of kindness,
it has not grown distant.

A couple weeks before Christmas,
it happened again.

We came home from running errands, violin lessons,
grocery shopping,
and there was a big box in front of the door.

It was addressed to the kids,

and when we opened it,

there were packages wrapped full of fun and creative things
for each of the kids.

 A family friend I'd reconnected with on facebook
had sent them
and each gift was so perfect for each child...

 it meant as much to me as it did to them.

 There was a sweet letter inside as well,
and the whole thing,
an unexpected, random act of kindness,
was so overwhelming,
it made me feel as if I needed to sit down to get my smile under control.

What incredible thoughtfulness!

The funny thing is, there is an unsure feeling of
"Why did this happen to us?"
that makes one want to somehow return the favor.

I think of the words she left me,
"Pay it forward."

It's kind of like the golden rule:
"Do unto others as you would have them do unto you,"
except without wanting the return part of it coming back
but to keep going forward.

What if I chose to pay it forward everyday?

What if I chose to take the extra step to do one random act of kindness

Oh, wouldn't it be fun to have the funds to do great things everyday!

I have so many friends and people I'd love to do grand things for.

Obviously, expensive or even monetary things can't always be done every day,

but there are little things.

It may just be bending over and picking up a piece of trash off the street that isn't mine,
intentionally waving to a stranger on the sidewalk,
sending a letter that would otherwise never be given time to be written and sent,
making my husband his favorite dessert,
reading my child a book instead of sending him off in front of the television,
saying a prayer for someone I wouldn't normally pray for...
or someone who annoys me or makes me angry...

Some things so small,
that I wonder,
 "Are these random acts of kindness or just things that have been allowed to be neglected?"

Or perhaps it would be better to say that if I chose simple random acts of kindness everyday
the world would be less neglected
and I'd be a few steps closer to being able to do
the grander things...

like a toy squid...

or a box of surprise gifts.


Yes, friend, I do plan to pay it forward:
in some bigger ways, I hope and pray,
but also, in smaller ways, as well...

and I'm going to try

every day

because everybody could use a random act of kindness.

Luke 6:31
"And as ye would that men should do to you,
do ye also to them likewise."


  1. Great stories. I've had several things miraculously *appear* on the store shelves at the very moment that I was looking for them. Exactly what I wanted. You know the hand of God was at work. And, yes, I wave and smile at a lot of strangers, too! lol

    1. Mentioned you in my blog post today... :)

    2. Thank you! What a sweet gesture! :)

  2. AWWhh, doggone you made me cry! Wonderful post!! I have been thinking about 'pay it forward' lately...this is just another message for get started! Thanks.

  3. Robin Matteson SiegfriedJanuary 18, 2013 at 1:52 PM

    We all shouldn't even have to think about doing this, we should just do it!, like when you're going to the grocery store, here in PA, we shop at the Giant, and you let someone go ahead of you in the check-out line, or we always bag for the cashier, so they won't have too!, bake a neighbor some cookies, do something unexpected for your MIL, find someone who is struggling with their income, and send them an unexpected package, we all need to have a servent's heart, and we should all be kind all the time!, and we need to teach our children that too!, when they see an older person to open the door for them at the supermarket, or restaurant or store, to be kind to their siblings!

    1. Very true, indeed. I feel badly how preoccupied I often get with my "list" of things I have to do while I am out, and forget that the people I bump into are living lives and need a bit of kindness everyday. I need to slow down and pay more attention to the important things: people. :)

  4. Aw, what a great story! I like paying it forward too and spreading the kindness others have shown me.

  5. I love doing things like this for others...flying under the radar!
    It is also nice when someone does something for me--what I mean is, it's not the gift that is given, but the heart-feeling that the other person genuinely has for me at that very moment. It makes my heart swell up inside--and I truly understand that there is such a thing as KINDNESS. It could be just a smile or a wave from a stranger...but it is just that...KINDNESS unexpected.
    When I was a child, we lived in a rural but growing community SE of Dallas, not as far as we live now, but my Mom would wave at people as we drove down the road, without them waving at her first or sometimes at all, I asked her,
    "Why do you do that,Mom?"
    She said, "because, I may be the only person that acknowledges that person today; and I didn't want them to think 'no one cares'.

    I have never ever forgotten it.

    I loved this story, thanks for sharing it and for hearing/ reading mine. Pat

    1. What a great perspective your mother gave to you! Thanks for sharing. And you're right, I know just what you mean...knowing that somebody took the time to think of you and share a kindness. It is priceless! :)

  6. I love both of these stories, but especially the first one.
    And I love the lesson you took from them, too!


  7. I have missed reading your post. You always inspire me. I will try each day to pay it forward. Thanks for reminding me how little things can mean the world.

    1. Thanks, Rachel! Great to hear from you again! I hope you are well!!

  8. What a beautiful world it would be, indeed, if everyone embraced this philosophy...just a little.


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