You ever have one of those moments when someone does something awesome for you?You know, those arbitrary act of kindness from someone who will never know how it means the world to you. Maybe something as simple as throwing you their extra umbrella out from the car window while you’re walking in the torrential rain (I always keep an extra umbrella in my car). Or, when you forget your wallet, someone spotting you some dough at the gas station so you can make it home. Or, maybe the girl behind the register at Chick-fil-A throws in some extra fries just because. Feels pretty awesome right? It’s those type of things that can really make your day, or at the very least turn the tide of it.
No matter what role you play in the exchange, the gifter or the gifted, those tiny moments are filled with incredible heart; a shared experience of palpable empathy and gratitude for another fellow human being. A few days ago I was the happy recipient of one of these seemingly small (although giant to me) acts of kindness, and I felt like it was something I should write about. Wish I caught the guy’s name though.
It was a Friday night and I was attending this giant annual Greek Festival aka “Greekend weekend,” hosted by St. Paul’s Greek Orthodox Church. My girlfriend’s best friend is super super, like my big fat Greek wedding type Greek, so participation isn’t just encouraged, it’s required.
This was my second year at the Greek Festival, and what I was most looking forward to-aside from gyros and wine ring-toss that has ever alluded me-was the flee market with random old books, marked down to $1.00. Now most of them are duds, but you can always hope to find a gem amongst the rumble. And again, every single book is only a dollar. That’s four quarters.
At first I didn’t see much; picked up a book by Chuck Norris, The Secret Power Within, and snagged that. Then I saw a thick hard cover book, The New Dictionary of Thoughts, which (aside from looking as far from “new” as it gets) had every abstracted-natured word followed by famous quotes on them by famous people. Totally up my alley. Here’s my gem I thought. But alas, I was wrong, some random tall skinny kid was about to make my day.
He was just ahead of me, which meant he had first dibs on anything that caught his eye. I heard him talking to the girl he was with, something about Shakespeare.
“Shakespeare? You found some Shakespeare here?” I couldn’t help but burst out in excitement.
“Yea man,” as he showed me his prize: The Harvard Classics, Elizabethan Drama’s of Marlowe & Shakespeare.
“Oh dude that’s sick!” I said while I thought to myself, There’s no way there would be a second one of those lying around right? Dam.
“You want it? Here man you can have it,” he said surprisingly matter-of-factly.
At first I refused, simply saying that I couldn’t accept. But then after doing a little back and forth, it became very clear that it didn’t mean as much to him and he wouldn’t mind parting with it. I tried to give him the $10 I had in my pocket but he just kept saying, “oh dude don’t worry about it.” What a nice guy.
Later on, after losing that same $10 to some more failed ring-toss attempts, I saw him in a circle of the friends that he must have come with. I went up to him and shook his hand while I gave him the sincerest “thank you” that I could.
“Dude I just wanted to thank you for the book again, that made my night. Have a good one brother.”
And that’s that. A nice couple coins in the karma bank for that dude, and I got to leave that night with a tremendous book to add to my Shakespeare collection.
The best gifts in life are the little ones that mean something. And when they’re coming from complete strangers they’re truly truly heart warming. Out of respect for the favor that was done to me, I have made it this months mission to go out of my way to help out a complete stranger. I’m not quite sure when/how I’ll do this, but I am sure that the universe will provide me with many opportunities if I keep my eyes open.
Thanks tall skinny dude.