Kindness Ripples

We had our hibachi Thanksgiving dinner out with my in-laws last night, and thoroughly enjoyed the show, the food, and the company. I delivered the Kindness Cake I saved for them, sliced and wrapped on a pretty plate, but we were all too full to enjoy it together last night.

Inspired by last night’s meal, and The Boy commenting that he thinks Japanese food is his favorite food, I am taking our tiny version of Thanksgiving in an Asian direction. More on that in the coming days. I am happy to say that I did my grocery shopping and errands today, so I can hunker down with my loves and cook and write and be creative with nothing competing for my attention until Friday. I don’t do Black Friday, but a small grocery run will need to happen. Almost no one is at the grocery store on Black Friday, FYI.

Today’s grocery run was a bit heavier than normal, with the added ingredients for Thanksgiving. I’m winging it a little, but I picked up the basics I knew I didn’t have in the house for the feast, plus the things we were out of or running low on. I really don’t want to be in the grocery store again until after Thanksgiving. Almost everyone is at the grocery store on the Tuesday and Wednesday before Thanksgiving, FYI.

Even as I did my shopping today, the store slowly became more crowded, navigation became more challenging – can no one design a better shopping cart? – and when I got to the checkout line, every cashier had a wait. I picked one I thought would move through quickly, and waited to unload my cart. There were two women in front of me, one in the process of paying, one unloading her cart. The woman in the front turned suddenly, reaching to grab one of the AmEx Gift Cards hanging on display behind her, and I vaguely wondered why she was so disorganized that she didn’t grab it earlier. You see, I wanted badly to just get my groceries into my car and home, so I could begin my holiday hunkering.

At last, it was time for me to unload my cart, and as I did so, I overheard the cashier tell the woman in front of me a remarkable thing. My body relaxed, a smile came to my face, and it suddenly wasn’t so important for me to get out of there. I turned to see if anyone was in line behind me, but I was the last in the line, with no one to pass this wonderful feeling on to, at least at that moment.

The woman who bought the gift card left it with the cashier, and told her to give it to the woman in front of me. It was as random an act of kindness as I have ever seen, above and beyond the daily civility we show one another by smiling, holding doors, and saying please and thank you. But the kindness did not stop with the recipient of the gift card. It affected how I saw my whole shopping trip, and when it was my turn to pay, it spawned a lovely conversation between the cashier, bagger, and me about all the different ways we have, over the years, found ways to help those less fortunate than ourselves, and left us all thinking of ways we could do that in the coming days and weeks of the holiday season. Like a pebble in a pond, that one act of kindness has inspired many more.

Opening my computer each morning, I steel myself for what I know will be news of more violence, acts of hatred, and head-shaking decisions by our incoming government. But today, I also received an email from my mother-in-law, thanking me for the Kindness Cake, saying how delicious it was, and that she had found the recipe online. She is planning to take some along on their trip, and the Kindness Cake will be shared with their friends. I suspect the recipe will be shared as well.


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