Thursdays don’t generally get much attention on my blog, but this week is special. It’s “7 for 7” – seven posts in seven days. It’s all in preparation for what will be mostly silence here for the 40 days of Lent. This week is my indulgence of words, you might say, as I explain here.
I wanted my Thursday post to be lighthearted — just a little something to make your day. So I thought of thoughtfulness as a theme, and that brought to mind something I’d shared this weekend with my Facebook friends.
Sunday night, I’d taken my two youngest boys out for “coffee.” No one actually had coffee. I had tea, and they had hot chocolate and root beer.
I had some paperwork to do and knew it might be something of a risk to attempt it at a small table with three drinks plus water and a son who isn’t known for his grace. Sure enough, not too far into our stay we had a root beer explosion, and it was all over my papers. The falling root beer bottle had knocked over my cup of tea to make it doubly drippy. It was a grand mess.
We got it all cleaned up and my son — the spiller — decided he wanted to buy a root beer to replace the one he’d spilled, and he thought that just maybe he had enough change to get the job done. He laid out his coins on the table — $2 in nickels, dimes and pennies. He then cajoled his older brother to come with him to the counter to make his purchase.
A few minutes after they tromped off to said counter, our youngest came dancing back to the table with a huge grin on his face and two crisp dollar bills in his hands.
I’d seen the cops come in but hadn’t noticed them up at the counter. Apparently, after Nick had made his purchase with his coin collection, one of the police officers had replenished the money he’d lost on the root beer with two new dollar bills. Our little guy was in heaven to say the least.
“Here, you forgot your root beer.” It was the barista, who’d come to find our thirsty boy. In all his excitement, he’d failed to bring his purchase back to our table.
What was fun for me in all of this, aside from the heart-warming elements of knowing a cop had made my son’s day, was watching others’ reactions. It caused a bit of a stir in the quiet, evening atmosphere of the shop. The two gals near us, around college age, had huge grins on their faces as they watched all this play out (we weren’t exactly quiet as mice), and the barista, too, seemed to be getting a kick out of the whole thing and her part in it.
Generosity is an alive thing. From the initial acting out of a kind thought, something heartening happens and spreads, and onlookers, if any, can’t help but feel lighter as well.
“Did you thank him?” I asked my son.
“Um, I think so.”
“Well I want to make sure. Go back and tell him thank you, just to make sure.”
So he did. Better to be safe than sorry, or as a friend once told me, to err on the side of love.
But I especially loved it when my son decided to share his “reward” with his older brother, who had come away from the scene with empty hands. It didn’t happen right off, but eventually, the moment of recognition came: if older brother had not accompanied him to the counter, he may never have found the courage to approach the counter in the first place. It was definitely a team effort and the result was divided in two.
My sharing this on Facebook elicited some great responses. The “random act of kindness” moment grew beyond the coffee shop as readers delighted in the act of one kind police officer to a young boy.
People want to hear about surprises, to be reminded that good still exists in the world, and that at bottom, our good hearts have not left us. Also, policemen aren’t our enemies. They’re there to help us, and on occasion, make a kid’s day.
Q4U: Have you been the recipient of an act of random kindness lately? I’d love to hear about it!