Impact 52

Day 1: Treat A Stranger

We kicked off the 25 Days of Giving today with a random act of kindness.  We took time to randomly treat a stranger to a beverage.  This act, though very simple, can have a huge impact.  I know this firsthand. In February, we participated in Random Acts of Kindness Week as our week 39 volunteer experience. During that week I purchased coffee for an older couple while at the gas station. They thanked me many times and even called me an angel in the process.  In July, I ran into that gentleman, Marvin, in another gas station across town. I didn’t recognize him, but he approached me with a huge smile. He reminded me of that day in February. I asked him about his wife and he went on to tell me that she was fighting for her life.  She was in the hospital with only days to live. He wanted me to know that she was diagnosed with cancer the same day that I bought them coffee.   He then told me that my moment of kindness that day gave them hope. Hope that good things you could still happen to them in this life.  You see, according to him, that day was the worst day of their lives and those coffees were more than just coffees.  He was so happy to see me. As we finished our brief conversation, he told me he could not wait to tell Doris that he talked with me. He knew it would make her smile.  I couldn’t believe it.  A woman who was dying, with only days to live, would smile because her husband saw a stranger who spent $2 on coffee five months ago?  It was one of the most emotional moments of my life and a moment I will never forget.

That story was the inspiration behind our Day 1 activity.  The girls and I bought coffee for 2 women who stood behind us in line at Starbucks.  They were surprised at our gesture.  They hesitated as they approached the counter.  “Are you sure?” was the question we received.  They eventually ordered their drinks, smiled big, and thanked us for the gift.  The girls and I grabbed our drinks and headed to the door feeling good about our deed.  At that time, two more customers walked in. We quickly stopped in our tracks and returned to counter and offered to pay for theirs as well.  In all we bought four coffees and we felt great about it.  While we purchased coffees at Starbucks, Erica was in the drive thru at McDonald’s paying for someone’s meal.  She was unable to see the response of the person behind her at the window, but we are sure there was a smile.

Buying coffee for strangers at Starbucks
Buying coffee for strangers at Starbucks

Today was about being kind to others.  We had a few people question our buying coffees at Starbucks.  They didn’t seem to think buying a luxury coffee for someone who could afford that coffee was truly paying it forward.  I disagree.  All people need acts of kindness.  We never know what challenges others are dealing with in life.  Someone who can afford a Starbucks Latte may also be grieving the loss of a loved one, the loss of a job, or dealing with a diagnosis of terminal cancer.  I will never forget my friends Marvin and Doris and the impact of a cup of coffee.

Today was an amazing day.  We had people from all over the country share their stories of treating a stranger.  We are on our way to making this a special season of giving.  Tomorrow is Day 2, Poetic Gesture.  Write a poem for family member or a friend.  Make it funny.  Share your emotions with them.  It is up to you.  Regardless of what you do, we are sure it will bring a smile to that person’s face.

2 thoughts on “Day 1: Treat A Stranger”

  1. Beautiful post Aaron! I wasn’t quite able to get out and do something for a stranger yesterday. However, I found out that a friend’s niece has cancer and am in the process of making her a ‘chemo’ hat. So this will be my first act of kindness for December :o)
    God bless you all for your commitment to this incredible and heartwarming effort!!

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