Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.
- Leo Buscaglia

Sunday, April 1, 2012

A Happy Meal

     A few weeks ago, I added some McDonald's $5 gift cards to my card collection (I also have some for Starbucks and for Dunkin' Donuts), but I hadn't used any of them until today.  It just seemed like a good day to spread a little cheer with a Happy Meal, though I wasn't quite sure to whom I wanted to given one.
     After I played golf today, I went through a car wash and thought about giving one to the guys who finish drying the cars.  It felt kind of awkward, however, because there were a bunch of workers and I didn't want to single out just one.  Since I was next headed to 7-11 for a Slurpee, I decided I would pick someone there to be my recipient.  As I sometimes do, I tried to find someone who wasn't like me.  I find that this helps me to work on being less judgmental as it forces me to connect on a more personal level with someone who looks different.  
     Standing in line at the counter in front of me was a young man who was probably about 18-20 years old.  He was dressed in all black, had 2 very large earrings, and had several visible tattoos.  I figured he was my guy.  As I exited the store I saw him standing in front, perhaps waiting for someone, while texting or reading messages on his phone.  I asked him if he'd like a gift card to McDonald's (which was just across the street, by the way).  He replied with a "Sure", and "Thanks" after I gave him the card and wished him a good day.  
     Afterwards, I was thinking about how I would characterize his reaction.  Frankly, he didn't seem all that surprised, or at least didn't show it.  He was more matter of fact than anything.  As I pulled out of the parking lot a minute later, he did give me an extra nod of thanks as if he was just then realizing that it wasn't a trick or gimmick or anything else.
     As I've noted several times before in this blog, I try not to have too many expectations for people and thus try not to judge their reactions as good or bad, or judge events as successful or unsuccessful.  Rather, I simply want to do nice things and then notice, record, reflect, and write about what happens.  While it certainly would be wonderful if someone is blown away by some gesture and chooses to pay it forward thus beginning a chain reaction of kindness, it's also totally fine if the only thing that occurs is that someone had a better day than they would have otherwise had were it not for my intentional act of kindness.  

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