With all the ugliness we see in the news, online and in life, it's heartwarming to actually witness a real life random act of kindness. Does give one hope that there are still some good people in the mix. The young man's random act of kindness will stay with me for a long time.
My husband and I were on our way to the store for grocery shopping. We're excited to have our whole family in on Christmas Eve. We decided to stop by a small diner we enjoy. It's always friendly there. The owners are often working along with their small staff of one or two, depending on the time of day. This evening, one waitress and one cook. It was an hour before closing.
As we sat waiting for our order, at one of the out of the way booths, we noticed a young man exiting from the restroom. He walked slowly, deliberately, with a heavy limp. He sat down at the counter. The waitress and the cook were friendly with the young man. From the exchange, it was apparent that the young man ate at the diner often. In walks an older man, probably in his fifties, who sat down at the counter beside the young man. There were four other men sitting at a booth near the counter area. The younger man and the older man, at the counter, strike up a conversation. It was easy to hear what was said. The older man was engaged in what the younger man said. The young man had slower speech, and seemed to struggle a little, but the older man was very generous.
The older man explained he was passing through Ohio, to Michigan, to spend Christmas with his eighty-nine year old mother. He said he was from North Carolina and it was a long drive. He was planning to get a room in Columbus (about 90 minutes away) for the night, then head on to Michigan in the morning. By this time the other four men were also involved in the friendly conversation.
After a while the young man got up to pay his bill. As he was heading out the door, he turned to the older man and told him he hoped he had a safe trip to Michigan. Then he said "Merry Christmas!" and walked out the door.
The waitress informed the older man that "Jimmy" had just paid for his dinner. It was obvious the older man was stunned. He turned and looked at the door where Jimmy had disappeared. The waitress told him Jimmy was just like that and often left her a bigger tip than he needed to. The other four men all agreed and said Jimmy was even nice before the accident. The older man asked about Jimmy's limp, and his speech, and they acknowledged that Jimmy had been in a bad car accident. The man was still in shock, shaking his head a little in disbelief. I could see he wasn't used to something like that happening to him. As he was leaving, he told the waitress, and the four men, that their town was very friendly and you just don't see that very often these days. He wished all a "Merry Christmas" and presumably headed on his journey north.
Jimmy's random act of kindness touched eight people yesterday evening, those who were present to witness it. I'm sure he had no idea that he touched eight souls with his kindness. Regardless of whether it's Christmas, or not, being present to witness a random act of kindness is God's way of showing the rest of us that there is still good in the world.
Merry Christmas and may the spirit of this season be with you throughout the year!