I woke up grumpy today. Coffee didn't help, but I thought a little retail therapy might. True to all of the studies that show that spending money on yourself does not, in fact, make you happier, I found after a few hours of fighting crowds and long lines, I was actually grumpier.
At the last store I went to, I found a dress that might work for the impending holiday parties. As I waited in the long line to check out, silently grumbling and wishing the other people would leave, I realized that I didn't want to feel that way. I noticed the quiet older woman behind me shopping by herself. She held only a small angel ornament. She reminded me of my grandma. I smiled and asked her if I could purchase the ornament for her. Initially she said no and then tried to give me cash, but eventually agreed. While waiting, she told me it was for her best friend. She buys an angel for her friend's tree every year.
The angel didn't have a price tag. As we waited for the price check (a process I normally become impatient during), the woman and I chatted about holiday plans, our families and her granddaughter who just called her to say she's pregnant with her first child. After a few minutes, the price check came back. The amount was less than I spent on a cup of coffee this morning (but worth so much more to me at this point). I handed the woman her ornament, gave her a hug and she walked away with a smile. She said it made her night.
I waited for the machine to be "ready" for my credit card (it was certainly taking its time) and thought about how those few minutes had turned my entire day around. Then the cashier informed me that I was good to go. "But I haven't paid yet," I said. "Oh, it's okay. Someone paid for your entire order." She motioned towards a woman in a pink sweater.
The pink sweater woman tried to leave before I noticed, but I insisted on a hug. We walked out of the store together and she told me how witnessing what happened between the older woman I had also turned her day around, and said she wanted to do something kind as well. She asks only that I pay it forward. We hugged again, both of us teary eyed, hearts warmed, and we went our separate ways.
When I got to my car, I immediately called my grandma who I've been too "busy" to call these past few weeks and shared the story with her (it was sparked by her, after all). Despite all the terrible things happening in the world right now, our conversation focused on the good in people, the best parts of our recent weeks and the things we're looking forward to. The good parts of the world.
I share this, not because I want to be recognized for doing something kind, but because something so small made such a huge impact on my day and the days of random strangers. I hope you'll use this as a reminder to step away from the problems and the frustrations of every day life and put some extra goodness into the world this holiday season. You'll feel better, I promise.
I found this on Facebook...posted by J. Huston.