A pretty regular morning for me… running late. Heading out to a play group leaders meeting, Jack wearing the last clean nappy and I didn’t have time to bake.
A last minute trip to Woolworths used to be a breeze… now I have children. I unbuckled them from their car seats with promises of a chocolate milk if they were on their absolute best behaviour, then we raced in.
A young guy was out the front, collecting money for a charity; ‘I literally have no money’ I called over my shoulder… and I meant it. I knew I had no money in my wallet. Thank goodness for credit cards.
The boys were true to their word… on their best behaviour.
Cupcakes – check
Muffins – check
Nappies – check
Chocolate milks – check
Ooh, that’s a nice, new mascara. Just pop that in the basket.
The boys helped me load everything onto the counter in the busy express lane and the cashier was friendly as she processed it all.
‘How would you like to pay for that?’ she smiled.
‘Credit….’ I smiled back, opening my wallet, then staring at the empty space where my credit card used to sit.
‘Oh no no no no no no no no no!’ I actually said out loud. ‘No!’ I’d left my credit card in my laptop back after an interstate meeting 2 days before.
Tears of frustration pricked the back of my eyes.
‘I’m so sorry, I’ve wasted your time,’ I apologised to the cashier. Aaaaaargh.
‘Can I open my chocolate milk now?’ Tyson asked, hopefully.
‘I’m so sorry, silly mummy left my credit card at home.’ I held back my tears. Aaaargh!
Then, out of the ‘express lane’ crowd came a kind voice; ‘I’ll pay.’
Everyone turned around.
‘I’ll pay…’ he said again, pulling cash from his wallet. ‘It’s Christmas.’
‘Oh no, I couldn’t,’ I responded tearfully. Don’t cry. Don’t cry. Don’t cry.
‘How much is it?’ He asked.
‘Well, I’ve got $40 here.’ He said. Handing it over.
The cashier started putting my groceries back into their bags, including the mascara.
I asked his name and address.
‘It’s Christmas,’ he said ‘If you can’t do a good deed on Christmas, when will you ever do one?’
‘I’ll just leave my groceries here,’ he said to the cashier. ‘I’ve got to pop home and get some more cash.’
The magnitude of what had just happened overwhelmed me as we raced to the car.
Sitting in his car seat, sipping on his chocolate milk, Tyson paused thoughtfully and said; ‘that was really incredible what that man did, wasn’t it mummy?’
‘It really was,’ I replied. ‘Incredible.’
Later that day I left the kids with hubby, put my credit card in its rightful place and stopped back into Woolies to get some cash out and a box of chocolates. The least I could do, really.
As I pulled up in front of Lionel’s house, Christmas lights twinkling, he opened the front door and smiled. I hugged him and thanked him for the incredible lesson he taught my kids that morning.
‘Well,’ he responded gently, ‘If you can’t do a good deed on Christmas, when are you ever gonna do one?’
I recently read an article by Sarah Starrenburg, starting a movement called ‘Random Acts of Christmas.’ A simple act of kindness and generosity can shape a mind and change a life.
Christmas is all about celebrating the birth of a precious baby boy, bringing light and life and hope. This Christmas, can I encourage you to be the light you want to see in the world, bringing life and hope with your own random acts of Christmas.
Tyson may not always remember the kind man who paid for our groceries that hectic morning but there will always be something inside of him that remembers ‘kindness matters.’
A Random Act of Christmas – Vision Radio interview 11.12.13 A Random Act of Christmas – Vision Radio interview 11.12.13