It was my day off and I had a million things to do, and naturally, that entailed stopping at the grocery store. I just needed a few items, fortunately, so I hoped it would be a quick trip. However, once in the store, I was pretty sure I had a digital coupon for diapers. And while I no longer need to purchase diapers for my children, when they are on sale and I have a coupon, I pick up a package or two for the St. Vincent de Paul collection at church for the needy. This won't take long, I thought. As I was in the aisle, I wanted to double-check to make sure the digital coupon was still valid. As Murphy's Law would have it, the store app wasn't working. So, I try going through the internet browser. I was able to log in, but then I got a message that the site was having problems. I go back and forth from the app to the browser till finally, things work. Yes! The coupon was valid and the diapers were on sale. Now I have to make up for lost time. As I approach the checkout area, I quickly scan to see which register had the shortest line. I push my cart into a line behind one woman who already has her items on the conveyor belt. Then I notice the dreaded. She is in a deep conversation regarding something with the items. I hesitate. Do I stay in this line or try for another?
Patience, I tell myself. God wants you to be patient. So I stay. Then I hear a bit of the conversation. The woman has clothing items and is trying to add the prices before the clerk scans them. She says, I don't know if I have enough money for it all, but if I don't, I will just have to ask you to take off something. And I hate to have you do that because I know it is a hassle.
The clerk rang the items and gave the woman the total. The woman swiped a card to see how much was on it. Nothing. "It didn't work," the clerk said. Let me get this other card. "That card also didn't work," the clerk retorted. She began digging in her purse. Let me find the other one. I know there is money on that one. I glanced at my items to purchase, which included chocolates and plush bears for my girls and husband for Valentine's Day. Things I could do without if I had to. I opened my wallet and said, "Don't worry, this one works," and swiped my card. The woman hugged me with tears in her eyes. She told me I didn't need to do that. She asked if she could get my address and send me the money. I hugged her back and told her to pay it forward and do something nice for someone else.
She took her bags and left. As I walked through the parking lot, she approached me and once again offered to pay me back. She went on to say that she was a single mother and just got a job and needed the clothing for work. She showed me her purchases; a few t-shirts she could wear to work, a special wallet that she could keep on her at work (no purses) and a t-shirt for her son. She insisted she pay me back when she gets her first paycheck. I told her no need, to just spread kindness and love to someone else. She couldn't tell me enough times how much this meant to her and hugged me again.
She left with her heart glowing. And me? It was the best $52.60 I had spent in a long time. It left a warm place in my heart on that cold day.
I should clarify that I did not intend to blog about this for the simple fact that I don't want to sound like I am bragging of my good deed. However, the very next day, Duraflame contacted me with their #sparksomethinggood promotion with hopes of people doing kind acts and challenging others to do the same. My hope is that you find inspiration in this story and that you decide to "spark something good" for someone else.
- Leave a positive message on a sticky note for a friend or stranger. I love posting messages on public bathroom mirrors
- Bake some cookies for the mail carrier or an elderly neighbor
- Leave a positive message on a co-worker's desk
- Mail someone a card
- Visit a nursing home resident (check first--many will let you know residents that don't get visitors)
- Pick up the tab for someone behind you in the drive-thru