Sometimes, something happens that touches you in a way that you simply have to share it with others, as you know it could touch them, too. This is one of those stories. On Christmas morning, my faith in the human race was restored. I know that it is a big statement, but after a really tough year on so many levels, I did not know how much I needed my belief reaffirmed. Regardless of your spiritual beliefs, if you are anything like me, it may also remind you that there truly is some kind of a higher power. You may wonder what donuts can do to bring about so much restoration. Stay with me, and I will do my best to explain.
In our house, we no longer have to wake up super early on Christmas morning, as we have an absence of younger children in the house. So, this year, we got to sleep in some, which was lovely. We all went downstairs and had a nice time watching gifts be opened. When it was all said and done, it was coming up on lunchtime, but we had yet to have breakfast! My husband had bought “Grand’s Cinnamon Rolls,” one of his much-loved breakfast treats, but he was alone in wanting them on Christmas morning. My daughter wanted doughnuts. My son wanted doughnuts. It was Christmas, so I thought, IF we can get them, let them eat doughnuts! We looked Dunkin Donuts up online and discovered that they were open. There is one with a drive-through, so without a glance at myself, I put on my new indoor/outdoor slippers that I had received on Christmas morning and donned my jacket. Then, my daughter and I went to go retrieve breakfast. Sadly, we were headed for disappointment. The drive through Dunkin’ Donuts was closed. All was not lost. There is another Dunkin’ Donuts close to our home, and after a quick call to them, we discovered that they were open. So, despite the fact that I was wearing my PJ’s and slippers, I understood that like it or not, I was going out into the world anyway, so on we went.
Only a few people were working that day, which makes sense for Christmas morning, so things moved slowly. When I got to the counter I saw that there were not a lot of donuts or options,
but was able to pick enough of them that everyone would be satisfied and moved over to the other side of the counter to wait on drinks.
It was a long wait. Despite all my training and efforts in being patient, I had to work really hard to keep my attitude in check. I reminded myself to be grateful that they were open at all. There were a number of people near the counter waiting on drinks, so to pass the time, I began to speak to two women, a mother/daughter duo. They had matching blue hair, which I positively commented on as a conversation starter, and learned that it had been the Mom’s idea. She told me that after a year like the one they had had, a person needed to do something to lift their spirits. We chatted and their order was called, and then so was mine. I had ordered four drinks, and put them into a little carrier, sadly without a handle. So, I was preparing to walk back to the car with a dozen donuts in one hand and the drink carrier in the other. The woman I had been speaking to offered to lend a hand, but I thought I had it covered, so she opened the door for me, which was very much appreciated, and we began to trudge to our cars.
It only took a moment before the wind hit us. 20-25 mile an hour winds, according to AccuWeather, however, I can guarantee that the gust that hit us was even stronger than that. Both of us had to stop in our tracks and plant ourselves to keep from being blown away. I had a tight grip on the drinks and donuts and thought it was going to be ok, until it wasn’t. The box was whipped out of my hands, the donuts dumped onto the ground in a heap in front of me, and then the box was lifted by the winds, never to be seen by us again. The wind died down after that. I guess it had gotten what it wanted. My new friend went back into the doughnut shop and I stood there, trying to figure out what to do with the heap of donuts. My daughter saw what happened from the car. She had the dog with her too, and we had not brought her leash, so she too was limited in what she could do. Regardless, she came over to me and took the drinks back to the car. After she left, an older gentleman came over to me with a bad from inside the shop. He leaned toward me and said, “I am sure they are OK. My Mom used to tell me that we all ate a pound of dirt in our lifetimes.” He then opened up the bag for me, and held it open, and I started to pick up our breakfast from the sidewalk. The wind came back and lifted his hat off his head and sent it down toward McDonald’s, just a little way away. However, he did not run after it, and instead stayed to help me with my mess. Another man, who must have witnessed the wind’s latest bit of fun, ran to retrieve the hat for him. I was struck by the sudden sense of community. It is not often that you get to be a part of spontaneous acts of kindness. His hat was returned and I took my bag of sidewalk donuts to the car. After his comment, I did not feel like I could throw them out. At the same time, I was also unconvinced that my family was going to be interested in eating their pound of dirt on Christmas day. So, once the donuts were deposited in the back of the car, I closed the car door and walked back to the shop. The kind woman who was walking out with me appeared to be back in line. I was a bit surprised to see her back in line, but she told me she was going to order something else. We stood in companionable silence and it was quickly her turn. She walked up to the counter, said something to the woman behind it, wished everyone a merry Christmas and headed back outside. It was a bit perplexing, as I did not see her purchase anything, but it was my turn now and that thought left my brain as I tried to figure out what to do re: getting more donuts, from the even more meager supply. I asked for a variety, and pulled my debit card from my wallet. “Oh no,” the woman behind the counter said while shaking her head, “The woman that just left paid for your donuts.” I stood there stunned. The woman didn’t know me, we had just met. She had already extended a kindness to me when she opened the door.
Honestly, this small act of kindness almost knocked me off my feet. I wish I could do justice to the feeling that washed over me. Suffice it to say, it took everything I had not to burst into tears. I was so incredibly touched by this generous gesture. When my donuts were boxed, I left and walked quickly to my car. It was then that I saw that my benefactor had been parked right next to my car. They were pulling out as I walked toward them, and the daughter rolled down the window. I expressed my gratitude for their kindness, and I was told that sometimes you just needed to do something for someone else. I thanked them and told them that they had made my Christmas. That is the truth, no matter how nice my gifts had been, this gift was the one that meant the most to me on this Christmas day. It was the reminder that we can still look out for those around us and that when you least expect it, someone else will have your back. Not with cause, but just because. My strongest desire since then is to pay this kindness forward. I wish to do it over and over as I want others to experience the overwhelming feeling when someone you do not know chooses to be kind to you, just because they can. I wish I could thank these women by name, and let them know just how much they touched me, but perhaps they will see this post one day.
Perhaps this story seems silly to you, or possibly it touches you the way it still touches me. Regardless, let 2018 be the year of unexpected kindness. It will give you a feeling that nothing tangible could ever give you. Once you do it, let us know in the comments what it was like for you!
Happy New Year! May it be the start of a better year to come!