One of those moments occurred the other day... and it got me to thinking...
When Al and I were in college, we benefited many times from the generosity of strangers. One of the most important events was when an elderly gentleman - whom I had just introduced myself to at a city bus stop - kindly agreed to tell me about his war experiences so I could complete my first assignment in my News Writing class in college. If he'd said 'No' to my question, I doubt if I would have continued on my quest to be a journalist - which led to me being an author, editor and book publisher.
While working on the college's newspaper, we were rewarded by the institution with a FREE MEAL at the college cafeteria on the nights we finished the paper's layout. We didn't know the people who had made the decision to feed us lowly students, but it was a much-appreciated HUGE gift to any struggling college or university student, let me tell you!
Men routinely stood up from their seats on city buses to allow me to sit down if I was carrying parcels or groceries. Call it chivalry if you will, but it was still a kind act from which I benefited.
There are probably dozens more of these incidents, but those are enough for now.
I have been trying to do similar kind acts for most of my life but every now and then, a strange situation occurs that demands a little extra step outside of the comfort zone to help out a fellow human.
The other day, we were in a fast-food restaurant waiting for our food order to be delivered. On the way to our seat, I walked past a young man and woman and overheard them literally counting out their pennies to see what they could afford to purchase.
I thought to myself, 'Been there, done that', which is what I said to them quietly a couple minutes later as I approached them. I gave them some extra coupons we had as well as a toonie I found in my always-cash-bare change purse. It wasn't much but I knew it would help them a little and wouldn't make them feel totally uncomfortable and embarrassed.
They were surprised but thankful as they reconsidered their menu options. As they agreed (because I felt I should leave them with some dignity), they handed me the coupon book back after they'd ordered and we all carried on into a much nicer evening.
I'm not telling you this to pat myself on the back. I was actually a little nervous at the thought of approaching these university students, but I knew it was the right thing to do. Besides, my trusty and trusting husband was right there supporting my whim and handing me the coupons.
It feels good to give - even a little bit.
Here's hoping I can keep up with this new 'resolution' in 2013.