It was a hot Florida day about a week before school started and I was on a mission to start a new behavior incentive system in my classroom. This required days of printing, laminating, cutting, and organizing. After multiple trips to Walmart for materials, I am pretty sure my mom had just about enough; however, she never complained and followed me to my car with a smile on her face. Walking 10 feet from the parking lot to the front door of the store felt more like trekking across the Sahara Desert. Once inside, drenched in sweat and tired, the last thing we wanted to encounter were the crowds of back to school shoppers. We quickly picked up the items we needed and ran to the checkout. In line, I couldn’t help but notice the young man standing behind us. In his hands were a spiral notebook, a pack of pencils, and new sneakers. Nothing about these items may seem strange to the average shopper, but, being a teacher, I know that school supply lists can be longer than a wish list for Santa. So, I turned once more and observed that the boy had picked up a Snickers. As he looked at his items, he put the candy bar down. Over the next two minutes he appeared to have an internal struggle as to whether he could purchase the Snickers. Finally, he picked it up again and added it to his school supply pile. My throat began tightening as I held back my tears. For some reason, this boy made an impact on me that I couldn’t overlook. Feeling as if he may be offended if I offered him money, I told my mom what I had witnessed in the store once we stepped outside. Just as we both thought it was too late to do anything, my mom started speed walking in his direction. While catching her breath with money in her hand, she explained to the young man that I was a teacher and I wanted him to have the cash to purchase anything else he may need for school. As they stood there in silence, unsure of how he may take her kind gesture, his eyes began to well up with tears. He took my mom’s hand, looked at her with such intensity, and expressed his gratitude.
For those of you who don’t know my mother; she truly embodies what it means to be kind every day. I look up to her in ways she’ll never quite understand. I can only attempt to express the love she has for people in my daily life. I’m hoping my random act of kindness story will inspire you to do some good today for someone in need. Smile at a stranger, hold open a door longer than you typically would, buy a coffee for a coworker, encourage a child. Trust me, the rewards you receive from being kind are for greater than any other gift you could receive.