Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Envelope #3/Cynical

On Saturday I took a trip to my happy place, Target. They've recently remodeled my store to include a Starbucks. So not only am I in my happy place, I am sipping a latte at the same time. Nirvana? Pretty much.

After gathering up what I needed and, of course, several things I didn't, I began to load my car. It was cool and rainy so I was trying to do this quickly. As I was loading, I was approached by a young woman in her middle twenties. She approached me timidly, almost ashamed at what she was about to ask me. She said she was stranded without bus fare and did I have any change? I'm embarrassed to say I gave my knee-jerk reaction response and said no. She had very sad eyes and if her chronological age was 25, she looked 40. She walked away, head down towards the bus stop enclosure.

Immediately I second-guessed myself. Why did I shoot her down so quickly? Why was I so cynical, so quickly? I could feel in my gut instincts that she wasn't trying to scam me. She seemed so defeated. I did not feel so good about myself at that moment.

I hurriedly got in my car and drove down to the bus stop enclosure where I saw her waiting. I called out to her and waved her over. I handed her some money and told her, " get yourself some lunch too." Then I handed her an envelope with the gift card inside and said, here's something extra for you. She thanked me profusely and went on to tell me I had no idea what a horrible day she was having. I realized in that moment, I really didn't have any idea and how blessed I am. I knew I would never want to trade her life for mine not even knowing the circumstances.

My lesson that came from this, drop the cynicism. People are hurting, people are sad and need help. Just do it. I felt redeemed after that.

Monday, April 8, 2013

The Message/The First Envelope

I decided to keep the message inside the card short. I wrote, "you've received this because in some way you've shown me a kindness and I appreciate it. You don't have to do anything, but if you can, will you pay this kindness forward? Thank you, Michelle."

I had quite a few errands to run today, so I left with a feeling of excitement. Would I give one out today? Several? None? Would I just know when it would be the right time? My mind was swirling!

The first two stops I made, nothing. Then I went to Nino Salvaggio's a local gourmet fruit market. I had almost forgotten by this point. There was a young man, an employee by the cheesecake. Yes, I still love cheesecake. We chatted for a moment. He was engaging, polite and kind. I got so excited! I thanked him and pulled an envelope from my purse. I told him he made my day. He had a big smile on his face as he accepted the envelope and thanked me. I moved on toward the checkout, wondering about him opening it. Would he tell anyone? Would he pay it forward? No idea! But I have faith in the human race and think most who I give them to will follow through.

That was really fun! Who will I encounter for #2? I'm looking forward to the adventure!

Sunday, April 7, 2013

In the beginning.....

I am blessed, tremendously grateful for it. I grew up the only child of amazing parents. My mom stayed home and my dad worked hard for us. We were never wealthy but we always had what we needed.

My mom passed away almost 13 years ago and I lost my dad at the end of February. This has left me a little adrift in the world searching for a purpose. I'm starting to volunteer for different organizations I believe in but wanted to do something on my own. I figured out I wanted to share my gratitude for being so blessed.

So I decided to start today. I went to Target (my happy place) and bought gift cards. I bought 10, $5 gift cards and a package of notecards. In the notecard I will write a simple message, like, have an awesome day and I will enclose a gift card. I will ask them to pay forward the kindness they've received, however they can. Will everyone do it? Some will, some won't. But I am hopeful that if a small kindness from a stranger touches them, they will be inspired to pass it on.

I also need to come up with some other ideas. It won't always be gift cards. I'd appreciate any suggestions!

So as I go along, I'm going to write about my experiences, the people I meet and share kindness with. I'm excited to begin!

Thanks in advance for embarking on this journey with me. Not sure what to expect, but that's the beauty of it.