The best gifts are ones that come from the heart and make both the giver and the receiver feel good. They can be very simple gifts, such as a smile to a stranger. The headline of the Parade Magazine, January 1, 2017 edition, is to “Throw Kindness Around Like Confetti.” What a lovely concept and appropriate for the season.

Each new year brings its own excitement of promise. Looking ahead with a resolution for  sharing gifts of kindness means that not only will you feel better, but whoever you give the gift to, will benefit and feel better. Showing gratitude to friends and relatives is an easy way to start. As I reflect on this, it reminds me of an instance that happened this year.

Though I am courteous and smile at cashiers and people in front of me on line, I don’t usually engage in conversation. One day in the supermarket, the lady in front of me looked familiar but I couldn’t place where I knew her from. I believe she had the same feeling and as we made eye contact, we both acknowledged that we hadn’t seen each other in years. I told her that I was on my way to watch my Grandchildren and she said that her Grandkids live out of state, but were coming to visit her the next day. She was very excited and was buying some treats for them.

I was happy for her, but so perplexed as to where we had known each other. It was as if we had spoken often, but didn’t know each other’s names. I thought perhaps she had worked at a store that I frequented. She checked out her groceries, amounting to around $20. However, her credit or debit card was rejected. Her face fell and she told the cashier that she had to put the treats back.  I handed the clerk a twenty dollar bill and told her it was for my friend.

She had tears in her eyes and tried to refuse my payment, but I insisted. She packed up her goodies, hugged me and left with a smile on her face.  I felt so wonderful that I had seen her again, shared some sweet Grandchildren stories and was able to help her. For days I felt a glow inside, that I had stepped out of my comfort zone and made a difference for another person.  Kindness can be contagious and spread through imitation, as in “Pay it Forward”.

One time while going through a toll booth, the person in front of me paid for my car. Of course that was many years ago, before EZ Pass, but I never forgot that lesson and have tried to do similar “random acts of kindness”.  It almost seems selfish because it sure feels good!

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