This week is Random Acts of Kindness week at the Sweetest Little School by the Sea. It came about as the result of a conversation with our insightful and lovely psychologist a few weeks ago. Mrs. Turner related a time she was approached by a man at the grocery store and asked for money. She said the man stepped out of the bushes near the Vons store in her town. He asked, “Can you give me money ?” He said he was hungry. She said she didn’t want to give him money, but there was something about him. He looked gaunt and tired, slightly dirty. And so, instead of giving him money, she told him she would buy him food.
“Wait here,” she encouraged. I’ll be back.
She went into the Vons and walked the aisles considering what the man could eat that evening. As she got her own groceries she chose some for him as well. She bought a roasted chicken, roasted potatoes – you know, the kind you get in the hot deli that are deep fried and over seasoned that smell so good? She bought some water, a deli salad, some napkins, and utensils. Then she went a little further, picking up orange juice, granola bars, and some bananas so the man would have breakfast too.
As she exited the store, the automatic doors closed behind her like so many opportunities. She stepped into the parking lot and began looking around for the man. But she did not see him. The thought that he must not have really been hungry crossed her mind. And disappointment crept in. She was excited to share the food she had purchased especially for him. “Oh well,” she thought and she started for her car. It was then that she saw him emerge from the bushes at the edge of the parking lot.
The man said, “I’m here. I’m here!” Mrs. Turner stretched out her arms to hand the grocery bag to him. The man’s eyes queried. “What may I take?”
“Here. This bag is for you.” His eyes widened. She nodded, “Yes.”
The man’s English was limited. She elaborated, “Here, I’ve gotten you dinner and some breakfast too.” He raised his eyebrows and then turned toward the bushes calling, “Ven, Ven!” and he beckoned for someone to come.
A young woman dressed in too large clothing, holding a young child in her arms stepped out, eyes dark and darting about. He called her over again, “Ven”. She came and stood beside him. The baby slept. The man and the woman looked into the bag. They breathed in the rich and heavy aroma of roasted chicken. Dirty and exhausted, “Thank you,” they managed as Mrs. Turner smiled and then turned to take her own grocery bag home.
Each day this week children are noticing others performing Random Acts of Kindness. Our humanness is stepping up and stepping forward to offer something extra into the world by helping others. As we do, we are improved. We feel better and we grow a little bit taller.