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Random Acts of ... I Don't know ...

4 years ago
last modified: 4 years ago


Or - Making me feel better about myself?

This will probably sound nutty, and I'm not even sure I can adequately express it, but here goes:

Do you ever cross paths on a recurring basis with strangers who just seem to tug at your heart? I do, and the older I get, the more often it seems to happen. Often these are people in the service sector who are working their you-know-whats off and doing so with a wonderful attitude, but occasionally they are just people who touch me for one reason or another.

Case in point: On my daily pre-dawn commute I drive through an area of lower-income apartments when all the little children who live there are making their way to school. There's a crossing guard at a very busy intersection who is out there in the dark (and lately, it's been very dark and rainy in the mornings), faithfully ensuring that traffic stops and those little chickadees safely cross the street. One day as I was passing, it was pouring rain and she was standing at her appointed corner, STOP sign in hand, wearing a makeshift plastic poncho and getting completely drenched. My heart just went out to her. I drove past, but circled back and managed to get out of traffic and pull up along side her. I had a $15 gift card to Starbucks in my purse, and I rolled down my window and handed it to her, telling her that I saw her day after day and wanted her to know that she is appreciated for helping those little ones make their way safely. I told her I'd like for her to go get a nice warm drink on me when her shift ended. At first she looked like a deer in headlights, but then a huge smile spread across her face and she lit up like a Christmas tree. "THANK YOU!" she said. And I smiled in return, told her she was most welcome, and drove on. All the rest of the day I felt good about the exchange, and truth be told, about myself for heeding that inner prompting to do something nice and unexpected for the woman.

There's a young man that I also see daily on my commute, standing on the sidewalk outside of his apartment area, waiting with a very little girl until she gets on the schoolbus. He's always either holding her hand or down at her level, and she's wrapped in his arms. I've seen him wait until she boards the bus, then he waves to her and to the driver, and turns and walks back home. I don't quite know why I am so touched by that little vignette, but I am. And I long to find a way to tell him that he looks like SUCH a good daddy, and it's touching - and others are noticing how gentle he is with that little child. I mean, really - his overall expression and demeanor towards that little one (especially so early in the morning) that I observe even in such a short amount of time is so touching that I could actually cry thinking about it.

So ... I'm not even sure if I have a question; more of a general observation that these people seem to appear in my path more often these days, and I find myself wanting to say something kind to them or do something nice for them. On the other hand, I don't ever want to patronize someone -- and I fear coming across as (forgive me, but) a relatively affluent white woman who thinks she can hand someone a Starbucks gift card and fix all the wrongs in the world.

I guess I'm just torn in adequately responding to these inner prompts. Do you ever experience such things, and if so, what are your thoughts?

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