Okay, I know that giving is truly best when it is unconditional with no strings attached. And other than when I give the parking meter coins and expect no parking tickets in return, I give because I love to give.
The funny thing is, I cannot tell you how many times I have heard people say to me “you did what”?! They are incredulous that I would give the last dollar in my pocket, or offer a homemade meal, or give a ride to someone that is more than 10 minutes away. Unless the person is an axe murderer, I don’t see the big deal with it.
If I have the means and someone needs it, I am happy to give. I must admit that it is a bit selfish on my part because I feel so good when I do those things.
I especially love paying for the order of the car behind me in a drive-thru. It’s especially fun watching their hand and face expressions with the employee as I drive away…PRICELESS! But even deeper than all the “it feels good” aspect, I think it plants a seed- a seed of hope, of kindness, of consideration, and most of all that we don’t need to know who the person is to send some light their way.
One instance at a familiar southern restaurant chain stands out to me. My sister and I stopped in to have lunch. There was a family of four not far from our table, and I have to say they were so damn precious.
Now, I mean that in the most respectful way. They appeared to be in their Sunday best- the mom in her dress and pretty cardigan. Dad in his cleanest jeans and work boots. The little boy and girl in their respective best as well. As I gazed at them I was just struck by the softness of them, the sincere appreciation they exuded at sitting together talking and sharing a meal. It appeared that this was a ‘very special’ occasion, that this was not something they were able to do very often.
When our server came by and I gave her my card to pay for our meal I asked her quietly to also charge their meal on my card as well. I requested that she not disclose who paid for it as I wanted to remain anonymous…more fun for me I guess.
But she didn’t take that request to heart apparently, for just as I was looking up from putting my card back the whole family of four was standing at our table smiling and reaching out to shake our hand(s).
My face turned red as I smiled and shook each of their hands. I realized quickly they didn’t understand English very well, and I do not speak ANY foreign language. So, I just smiled and shook their hands for what seemed to be 10 minutes or more. They were so gracious and thankful, and so very surprised that a complete stranger would pay for their meal. The thing is, I know I got more in return from that gesture than what I gave – PRICELESS!