And it begins... I found the book "29 Gifts" in a thrift shop last August (2011). I bought it because the cover was appealing, I probably glanced at the back or inside front cover. Then I put the book beside my bed where is lay quietly until April (2012). One sleepless I night I picked it up and was drawn in, I read it each sleepless night till I was through. I pondered starting the challenge. I "sort of" mentioned it to my husband... but he didn't really pay attention. So I pondered when to start. The book was meaningful to me because like the author I am dealing with a serious medical condition and have made major changes in my life.
I stopped by a local drugstore to pick up hair gel and hairspray for my 4-year old's "faux" Mohawk.
While I was shopping I saw a boy ask his mother if he could have the school supplies he was holding. He spoke to her in English, she answered in Spanish, it was clear the answer was no.He continued to plead with her and tell her he really needed them. I looked over and saw he had only three items.
And in that moment, without thinking of the Challenge, I was moved to act.
Next the boy's sister ran into the aisle to ask her mother something so I continued looking for the hair products I needed. Once she ran off I asked the boy if I could buy his supplies. He said "really?" I said "Yes, you said you need them for after-care because you are bored." I asked him to ask him mother if it was okay if I purchased the supplies.
She smiled and seemed grateful. I took the boy along to the register and made his purchase first. We talked while his items were being run up. I asked what grade he was in. He said he was in the fourth grade. He still seemed a little stunned that I was buying his supplies... a large notebook, a box of crayons and a fancy book cover in a camouflage design. He told me about school, and after-care, and that people tell him he is a very bright boy.
I told him it was my pleasure to do something to help a stranger, and that in the future he could do the same. He thanked me again and he left to find his family.
Next the cashier looked at me and said "Did you just buy him his things? You don't know him?" And I said yes, it seemed like the right thing to do. She seemed touched. I told her I wasn't employed right now because I am sick, so it wasn't the perfect time to be spending money I should be using for bills, but all things being equal, I knew I could better spare the money. I realized that despite my illness and other setbacks, I have been blessed in life, so why not share. I wanted to help him and give him some joy.
I guess there is something moving me with this challenge... something that propelled me to purchase the book, to read it when it was the right time and to act when the first gift presented itself.