What an unexpected, crazy, amazing, and special Christmas Eve Day we had!
It started out unexpectedly at 3 am with an emergency room visit. :-/ I was woken from sleep with the most incredible pain I’ve ever experienced in my life. Turns out I had a kidney stone…first one ever. Thankfully a Dilaudid push eased the pain and a bunch of IV fluids helped the stone pass. Astonishingly I left the ER about 3 hours later feeling absolutely 100% fine.
After a few more hours of sleep I was up and at ’em! I was so thankful to be feeling good…because I had a big day planned. :-)
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My nephew and business partner, Scott Warner, and I had decided our families would make Christmas Eve Day a day of Random Acts of Kindness. Thanks to all of you, we have had a very successful year and wanted to spend the day “giving back” and letting our families in on the fun!
Here is Scott’s “report” on the day with his young family:
What an amazing experience today was. The kids (as well as us adults) had an amazing time. Some people started sobbing. Here’s a few shots from the experience. They’re not great pictures but will do…
Here’s Chase giving an envelope with $100 in it to a new mother. She was shocked. Chase was so excited, he asked his Mom if he could please give another envelope to someone else.
Me paying for a family’s groceries. They didn’t even know what to say. The lady started to cry. They asked me for hugs. The lady at the register said it was the nicest thing she has ever seen anyone do for someone else. :)
Well Scott, we DID have a similar experience, with a few variations. Since my kids are older I decided I wanted them all to choose how they were going to do their Random Act of Kindness on their own. No coaching from me involved (unless they needed it.) I gave each person an envelope with cash and we all went our separate ways (since we all had different errands to do anyway.) While we don’t have any pictures…I will try and “paint” a picture for you with words.
Since No. 1 son Erik and his wife Kaitlyn were gone to California for Christmas…this was the Cast of Characters for the day:
- The Hubster
- My daughter Britta
- Britta’s boyfriend Neil
- No. 2 son Kell
- No. 3 son Sten
Britta and Neil started us off. They were off to do some Christmas shopping and while they were out and about…Britta decided to hit up the local Starbucks and give her envelope to the cashier. She asked the gentleman if she could purchase a gift card and if he in turn would use it to pay for the customers who came after her, until the money was spent. According to Britta the cashier was fairly dumbfounded by the request but once he got “into” it, seemed to have a really good time letting the people in his line know their food and drinks were already paid for. Britta stuck around and watched surreptitiously as customers would go to pay for their items and were informed they’d already been paid for. She said it was really fun to see their expressions and hear the comments of unexpected delight. :-)
Neil decided to pay a visit to one of the local grocery stores and left his envelope with a cashier he knew who worked there. He asked her to use her discretion and make sure it went to someone who could really use it. He then left and came back a few hours to get a report. The cashier informed him that she had slipped the envelope into the grocery sack of a woman with small children who was a regular shopper there and who was on food stamps and watching every penny. Apparently the cashier was moved by the experience as much as we were, which was an unexpected benefit of the day! :-)
As it turns out…mine was the next experience of the day. I had gone to the local Walmart to do some last minute gift and grocery shopping and fully expected to find someone there to give my envelope to. But as it turns out…for whatever reason…I just wasn’t “feeling it” while I was there. So I decided to continue going about my day and look for inspiration elsewhere. As I was driving home I passed a laundromat on the main street of our town and immediately I knew I had to stop there. I may have even made a rather abrupt right turn into the parking lot that I’m pretty sure an officer of the law would have frowned upon had he/she seen it! As I pulled into a parking space outside the humble little laundromat, I immediately began to doubt my decision. I didn’t want to walk into this laundromat with no laundry and appear to be looking for a “victim”. So I sat in my car praying for inspiration. Not less than a minute later, a woman walked out and I knew this was the opportunity I’d been waiting for. I got out of my car and approached her as she was loading laundry into the backseat of her car and asked her if it would be OK if I gave her a Christmas present. Her friendly smile immediately turned to tears as I handed her the envelope I had in my hand. She hadn’t even opened it and was thanking me through her tears. I gave her a big hug and told her not to cry (as I was crying myself!), that I had been very blessed this past year and just wanted to share some of that good fortune. I don’t remember her exact words, but they were something to the effect that this experience had renewed her faith in a world that hadn’t seemed very fair lately. I hugged her again and this time she didn’t let go for a very long time. Then I wished her a Merry Christmas and got back in my car and drove away with tears in my eyes and a heart full of the joy of giving.
When I got home No. 2 son Kell asked to borrow the car so he could go and do his Random Act of Kindness. He’s very independent and didn’t want any help and didn’t share any details about what he had in mind. About a half hour later my practical son informed us that he had given his envelope to a bell-ringer for the Salvation Army outside another local grocery store. On the surface that might seem like a rather ordinary Random Act of Kindness, but it absolutely fit his sensible soul to a tee, plus I got such a kick out of him describing how he quizzed the Salvation Army representative about where the money would be going before he decided to donate. When the gentleman informed him that 90% of the donations would be staying in the community it was a done deal. :-)
When Kell returned I told No. 3 son Sten that I would take him to wherever he wanted to go to complete his RAOK. While he wanted to take part in the experience…he was NOT liking the idea of having to approach a stranger to do so! Not in his comfort zone. :-) I told him it was totally up to him and let’s just see where circumstances led us. Well, circumstances definitely had a destination in mind because as we were driving around town on some last minute Christmas errands we happened to pass a father and his young daughter selling homemade tamales out of the trunk of their car. The little girl was holding up a handmade poster while the Dad handled the transactions. I knew in my heart of hearts that this was the opportunity we were looking for…but I wanted it to be Sten’s idea. I asked him what he thought and he still seemed undecided until I pointed out that he could purchase some of the tamales and hand the seller the entire sum of money in the envelope and tell him to “keep the change.” This seemed to pique his interest and he said he wanted to do it. So we pulled over to the side of the road and the transaction went down. I would love to have had a picture of the gentleman’s face as Sten told him to keep the change. It was a mixture of utter disbelief and hopeful enthusiasm. I believe his words were, “Are you kidding me?!” ;-) He even looked at me as if wanting reassurance that this really was OK…and I gave him a nod that seemed to put his mind at ease. Then he informed us that he was trying to earn money for some Christmas presents and Sten and I knew we’d found the opportunity we’d been looking for. As a Mom it was so gratifying to see my kids take part in this experience and get so much enjoyment out of it in the process.
That leaves The Hubster…and in true “hubster” fashion, he decided to keep his “secret mission” a “secret”. So I have no tales to tell from his experience but I have no doubt it was inspired and appreciated…whatever it was.
I hope you have enjoyed a little peek into what we now plan to make a regular holiday tradition in our family….Random Acts of Kindness Christmas Eve! It really was like giving a present to ourselves as we made an effort to give to others.