What goes around, comes around
Originally published on 4-6-14
It’s was one o’clock and I was on my way to get pampered. Manicure, pedicure, here I come!
My baby belly and I walked into our neighborhood gas station and I headed straight for the soda fountain machine. I reasoned that a Sprite Zero never hurt anybody.
I had my cup of ice and Sprite Zero in hand when I noticed a man, just taller than me, dressed in all white. His clothes had some paint stains on them and his boots were worn with years of saw dust and dirt. Right off the bat I thought, construction worker. In the few seconds I looked at him I could tell he was naturally dark but that years of sun had settled in his skin.
I watched him as he poured some of the boiling water from the hot tea machine into his cup of Ramen Noodles. I haven’t had a cup of Ramen Noodles in a while, but I sure do remember them. While his Ramen Noodles were softening he counted the coins from his lunch sack to make sure he had correct change. His lunch sack, the white plastic bag hung loosely over his arm as it only held a banana. Once his noodles were mixed up he made his way to the checkout counter and he stood in line behind me.
He looked like a hard worker. In the 30 seconds I observed him I created a story for him. I was sure he was a good guy, working hard to earn an honest living. I come from a line of hard workers and so I have a real spot for folks who grind it out. I admire hard working people, whichever tax bracket they belong in.
As the clerk rang me up I told him I’d also be paying for whatever the construction worker was taking, which turned out to only be a large orange colored fountain drink. I turned around and addressed the construction worker in Spanish (wild guess) and told him that today his soda was on me. The whiteness of his smile seemed extra white against the darkness of his skin. I turned and paid for our sodas and the clerk said, “Have a blessed day.” I said, “you too.” I wanted to say more, but I gathered my change and exited the store. My manicure and pedicure were just a little sweeter that day.
After getting dolled up the sun came out and so I decided it was time to run my car through our neighborhood car wash. Thirteen bucks to clean all the dirt off, and I can Instagram for five minutes uninterrupted, I’ll take it!
I drove up to the open lane and I smiled at the attendant taking payment. Graciously, he smiled back. I rolled down my window and he started to address me in Spanish. Of course, I spoke Spanish right back and we chatted for a short time about the day and how the sun was shining. As I reached over to hand him my thirteen bucks he said, “I’ve got you today. This one’s on the house.” I said, “No way. Are you sure?” “Ya! This one’s on us.” I couldn’t believe it! He didn’t know me from Adam. There was no reason for him to extend me such a kindness, but he did. I thanked him over and over and he sent me on my way. It was just a carwash, but I was moved.
I was so moved that my eyes filled up with tears and couldn’t wait to get home to share with Guapo. I was just thrilled that the universe took all of 3 hours to circle energy around. I had extended a random act of kindness at 1pm and a random act of kindness was extended to me at 4pm. Just marvelous!
I do acts of kindness all the time. I give to my church, coach people; hold doors open, pray for people, and make donations to folks competing in sporting events. But about once a month I do some random act of kindness for a stranger. I purchase items for the person in line behind me at the coffee shop, or corner store or I buy a bag of food and drop it with a homeless person. Back in December I even gave away the beanie, scarf and gloves I was wearing to a lady who was homeless in South Austin. She was cold, I was in a heated car, I didn’t think twice.
Let’s not get so busy that we miss the forest for the trees. We are here to be kind to ourselves and to one another, to encourage one another, and to cheer each other on toward fulfillment.
May we all continue to find ways to pay it forward, for our sake and for everyone else’s!