Monday, August 5, 2013

In Kind

The man stood in the Target parking lot, a sign in his hands saying he lost his job and needed help feeding his family. They were there, too—a thin young woman holding a beautiful infant daughter, an orange flower blossoming from her halo of black curls. Because I'm cheap, I only gave them a dollar. Because I'm kind, I then drove to Starbucks and asked for two cups of ice water to take back to them. The barista gave me the water, grudgingly, but not without tossing in a tip: "You know, you're just feeding stray cats."

The family stuck with me as I headed up Cantrell toward home. I thought about how one unlucky break could be the difference between pulling up my nice curved driveway and holding up a sign in a sweltering parking lot. We aren't so different, his family and mine. Our luck could run out, too. I was thinking about this as I drove past The Toggery, an ultra fancy children's boutique a few minutes from home. They had a sign, too—big colorful letters promising their affluent clientele huge summer savings. What could it hurt to ask? I went in and told the saleswoman about the family. "Is there any chance you could donate anything for their baby?" The saleswoman asked me to wait while she disappeared into the back. When she returned, she was gently folding three complete outfits—dresses, bloomers, hats. Before she could slip them into the bag, another saleswoman walked up and handed her a gorgeous smocked dress to add to the gift. I expected to be shown the door. Instead, I was shown amazing kindness.

I'll probably never be the kind of person who shops at The Toggery, but I hope I never stop finding ways to share their spirit of generosity and kindness to people.

And maybe even a few stray cats.

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