Today's was one of my favourite gifts ever. Bear with me as I give you the setup: I went up to an outdoors store to get the replacement lace I needed; the store is located in a shopping centre off a highway, amid a 'miracle mile' of auto dealers - not exactly downtown. I got the lace, then popped into a drugstore for some necessities. I went to put my headphones back on - I've been wearing my backup pair - and found that, while I was at the outdoors store, one of the rubber earpiece tips had come off and disappeared. A little annoying, but not a huge deal, as I had some extras at home. It just meant I couldn't listen to anything until I came home and replaced it. So - uncharacteristically - I was standing in line without some kind of talk or podcast in my ears. Which meant I heard what was happening at the register.
An elderly man - late 80s, I'd guess - had pulled out a change purse to pay for what looked like a tube of generic antibiotic ointment (I couldn't really tell, but it was that size and shape). He didn't have enough money. After checking his pockets, he realized he didn't have a debit or credit card with him either. "I guess I'll have to go back home and get my credit card," he told the cashier. Did I mention this place is kind of in the middle of nowhere? Even if he lived not too far away, that would still likely be at least a half-hour trip for him each way, factoring in parking, etc. So without even thinking about it, I said, "Here, let me get it." And I gave my debit card to the cashier (praying that it was, in fact, inexpensive generic antibiotic cream, and not something wildly expensive). At first, he protested, but I wouldn't hear of it, and I asked him simply to pass a kind act along to someone else in the future. He was floored.
I was giddy with joy. I love when giving makes me feel this way, and I love when a perfect opportunity like this comes up. (Fortunately, it was only $5). I felt happy about it for several hours. Happy that I could do it, and happy that I did it. I think the cashier assumed I knew the man, but it also makes me happy that she witnessed an act of kindness. I thought of the study that shows kindness gives a seratonin boost not only to the recipient, but also to the giver (which I totally experienced!) and to people who witness it.
And... if my headphone earpiece hadn't gone missing, I wouldn't have overheard the conversation.
I wish I could say that giving always makes me feel that way - that would be awesome. But I think there's something about being able to give in a way that totally surprises people that really makes me happy.
Earlier in the day, I'd paid ahead for a random stranger's coffee (I pay for an extra coffee, and the baristas give someone a free coffee at some point during the day). I did that because, over the past few days, not many spontaneous opportunities came up. So that was a bonus.
I also finished the project I was working on and sent it off to the client this afternoon. I feel a bit nervous, because I gave her a lot of feedback, mostly about how to improve the material; I think she thought it was farther along than it actually was. So I have no idea how she'll react. I haven't heard anything from her, which is unusual - in our other correspondences, she's always replied almost immediately.
Hope you all had wonderful Tuesdays. Cheers!