Blog post by Stephanie, a Kindness Investor from Mt. Laurel, NJ.
I created an intention this morning ~ Today, I am open!
I wrote up a certificate that said “I value you & your story” to give to today’s recipient. I eagerly left my house ready to meet my $10 recipient. I went to the bank with 4 $20 bills and asked for 8 $10 bills. Seven bills were for my YOGI’s (Year of Giving Investment) this week and one bill was left over for me. 🙂
While I was at the bank, I overheard the teller next to me tell the young woman that she was in the negative. I had been there before and bounced a check, so her situation hit home for me. I wanted to hand her the $10 but she was with the teller, had a cell phone call on hold and her mom was waiting for her in the car. Honestly, the scenario to give her the money at that moment didn’t seem like an open opportunity so I left the bank and ventured off.
I went to Panera for lunch, thinking this was a perfect place to meet a YOGI, but the place seemed crowded, busy and sadly the people felt closed off to making connections with a stranger. I left and later set out to Whole Foods. I was aware that it still seemed difficult to even make eye contact with people. Everyone seemed to be in a hurry. The customers seemed to be looking in their wallets, talking on their cell phones or focusing on where they were going next.
I did approach a woman shopping with her 4 year old child, and to my surprise she was not open to talk with me at all. She quickly raced away saying, “My child is with me.”
I was let down for a moment and felt she really wanted to protect her child. I have always promoted Kindness in schools and enjoy connecting with children. People tell me I have a natural gift for this, but I didn’t realize how challenging it is to connect with people I don’t know who are going about their everyday routines and schedules.
Feeling like I may fail myself and not find someone to connect with, I looked over at the last register and watched a middle-aged woman tap a man on the shoulder and point to a bill on the ground. I believe it was only a dollar bill, but I observed this woman’s kind gesture. The man was not even aware that he dropped money, but picked it up and graciously thanked the woman. After the woman paid for her salad, I approached her smiling and gave her the $10. I said I observed her gesture and that I would like to give her $10 as part of the Year of Giving. She was shocked and surprised, so I started our conversation by explaining just what YOG was.
Cheryl F. accepted the $10 and told me she is the mother of four teenage girls ages 12, 14, 16 and 18. She said the hardest thing about being a mother was how close in ages her girls are and wished daily responsibilities did not get in the way of her spending more time with them. Cheryl works as a Home Health Aide and helps serve the elderly. She shared how our elderly are a lot like children – needing lots of care and attention, too. She said she enjoys her job and helping other people out.
When I asked how she will use the money, Cheryl said, “I will hold on to it and then pay it forward!” She wanted to tell her daughters about what happened today. I thanked Cheryl for sharing her story and for being so kind. Cheryl was warm, friendly and cares about her daughters and the elderly!