The other day my friend, Kathy, called me to tell me this story:
She was shopping, rushing around like you do at this time of the year, looking for something that was hard to find and ended up at a Rite Aid store at the shopping center near her home. She parked her car, got out, hooked her keys onto her purse and went into the store. On the way in she noticed a guy who seemed homeless, kinda dirty, nervous, cold, sitting on a bench near the store—watching people going and coming with an intensity. It was the look in his eyes that troubled Kathy but other than wishing him well she went into the store to purchase her product.
She found what she was looking for, went to the cashier to check out but realized her keys were gone as she opened her purse. She went back to the shelves and isles she had just visited thinking she had lost them there or laid them down somewhere. They were not in the store. She went back out into the parking lot looking into her car window, went around her car, retraced her steps from the car to the store a couple of times.
As she was busy trying to find her keys she realized the guy on the bench was watching even more intently. It occurred to her that maybe he took them but didn’t want to entertain that thought thinking she was being judgmental, prejudice, or critical. Kathy is a positive person and does not like to think badly about people who are already down. But the thought was there and it bothered her. She dismissed her mind noise and went back to the car to look one more time before going back to the store.
“I too have had the good pleasure of giving kindness to others and have received kindness from others.”
She noticed this woman coming out of a coffee shop next to Rite Aid with two cups of hot drink. She walked up to the bench guy, gave him one of the cups, the steam coming off the top. He reached out for the cup, held it close to his face, took a drink—probably thanked her. The woman went on to her car. Then he got up and went into the Rite Aid store ahead of Kathy. He was coming out as Kathy passed him going in. She got to the counter to pay for her purchase and the clerk said, “Hey this guy came in with these keys. Are they yours?” Kathy realized he returned her keys.
She was overwhelmed with emotions, feeling gratitude, and was amazed when she realized that this one kind act from an unknown woman, produced a chain response that got her keys back into her hands.
When she called me with this story I had to share it. I too have witnessed the power kindness has on people. I too have had the good pleasure of giving kindness to others and have received kindness from others. God bless the bench guy for his ‘pay it forward’ action and good choices and I hope this article finds him warm, well and happier.
I think I’m gonna go to a coffee shop and—