When was the last time you received a gift that just completely threw you for a loop because it was so unexpected and because it made you feel so good at the moment you received it? And when was the last time someone did something so kind to or for you, that you walked away so moved?
For me, the last time either of those things happened to me was yesterday. At around noon. In a supermarket parking lot.
Just as I was approaching the doors to the grocery store, a woman I know was coming out of the store. I would call her a friend, but I don’t know if we’re even familiar with each other enough to call each other friends. I know her because this is a small town we both live in, and even though there are people who live here I don’t know, it’s the kind of community where I do know a lot of the people who live here. She is married to a man I used to babysit for when he was a boy; whose mother I used to know very well. They used to be our neighbors when I still lived with my parents. And when I moved back here ten years ago, after being gone for over twenty, the boy had grown into a man and he was now married with children and this woman, Lori, is his wife. She has also cut my hair before, and she is now my mother’s hairdresser. She has two daughters, one of which I know of because I have heard the nicest things about her from some other mothers. I don’t even see Lori that often. It even takes me a minute to recognize her the few times I do see her.
So yesterday, as I was approaching the doors to the store, Lori was coming out and we saw each other, and I realized it was Lori, and we greeted each other and she said she had just seen my mother and done her hair. As we spoke, we each kept walking in opposite directions, and then . . . all of a sudden, Lori stopped walking the opposite way and took three steps in my direction and threw her free arm around me (the other one held her sack of groceries) and gave me the sweetest, snuggest hug. She just squeezed me. And then she stopped and we continued chatting for a minute as we each again started walking on our respective ways, and we said our goodbyes . . .and I was so touched I kind of forgot for a minute why I was at the store.
That random act of kindness was so unexpected and felt so good that I felt like my whole being was smiling. And I’ve reflected on it many times since then. It’s like it made my whole day, and cast a much happier light on things that maybe wasn’t there earlier. I wasn’t having a bad day; I was getting things done and was in a good mood. But the fact that Lori was moved to give me a hug at that moment brought me more joy than she will probably ever realize. I think I mumbled “thank you” but I’m not sure because it happened so fast.
And now I feel like I know Lori just a little bit better. I feel like she must be very nice, with a good heart, and is not afraid to open that heart up and spread the love. Her gift didn’t cost anything, it probably wasn’t planned, and I had done absolutely nothing to deserve it. Like Grace. And it made me feel so so good. About Lori, about myself and about life.
Thank you, Lori.