My early morning EA duties brought me to Safeway at 7am, and I was horrified to discover that they didn't have their usual abundance of fresh bagels. I had to opt for muffins this morning, in addition to the few measly bagels they did have. I also went the lazy route and got pre-cut fresh fruit salad. I'm all about easy some days!
In line, the guy in front of me was buying a rather large hooch of brandy. Knowing that's really not the best way to start the day, I felt like giving him a hug, but instead I went about my business and paid for my goods with the ol' corporate credit card.
Why don't I follow through on the impulses I have when it comes to people who have it harder than me? I mean, I realize it probably would have been awkward for everyone if I'd given this stranger a hug at Safeway, but what about the guy at Starbucks last month? I was in line behind a man I'd seen outside counting change, and he was buying a tall cup of coffee with it. You could see that he was grateful to have just enough for the coffee, and I wondered if he'd had any other breakfast, or if he knew when his next meal would be. Right at that moment I wanted to offer him a bowl of their hot oatmeal, but I hesitated -- what if I offended or embarrassed him? What if I insisted he let me, while he insisted I not? Then again, what if he'd said, "Thanks," and let me do something nice for someone? I still think about that lost opportunity to find out, and hope the next time I'm presented with it, that I'll make the better choice.
One of my favorite things that ever happened to me was a random act of kindness. Years ago, Hubby and I were crossing a bridge that we crossed pretty regularly, and when we reached the toll booth, I wondered why the teens in the car in front of us were all smiling at me. That was when the toll booth operator told us that the car in front of us had paid for us. The feeling it gave me has never gone away and still makes my heart smile to think of it.
Nowadays, we don't go through a toll booth too often, but every time we have enough cash, we pay for the car behind us.