Chain Reactions: A Valentine’s Day Truth

I received my Valentine today and it was better than anything I could have imagined.

Feeling a bit spent before noon even arrived, I left my office for a moment just to get out and take a quick drive. I wanted to have a moment in my busy day for myself and get a quick errand done instead doing it later and dealing with evening traffic.

Before I go any further, I want the point of this post to be very evident. This isn’t about what I did, but what I learned. So, if you choose to continue reading, keep in mind that this little story is about all of us, not just me.

I stopped at the store near my office and ran in to pick up some pet food. I quickly made my way to the open check-out where a nice, young girl was standing ready for the next customer; her attention focused elsewhere. As I was running my credit card I heard her say, “I wish I could help that man”. I followed her gaze over to a man standing by a rail. He was blind and seemed to be struggling with stepping away from the safety of the seating area. “He looks like he needs something, but I can’t leave my area. Will you go over there and see if he needs help, please?” she said with a half smile and half frown. I was impressed with her willingness to assign me to the service of this man without hesitation; expecting me to do  the right thing. So, I accepted and approached the man and asked “Sir, do you need some help?” I was surprised by his quick response, “Yes. Thank you. I need to get some Valentine’s Day cookies”.

Let’s pause here and circle back. I was shocked that he so effortlessly accepted help being offered to him. That isn’t a skill I have mastered. Also, I was relieved that he seemed comfortable accepting help from ME.

He wrapped his arm around mine and we walked over to the baked goods. I described which kind of cookies were available and he chose, of course, the shortbread hearts with frosting. We made small talk as we headed to check out. He told me his two brothers were coming to visit him for Valentine’s Day weekend. While approaching the counter, everyone seemed to slow their pace and, to my surprise, practice active patience as he and I went through the line, made the purchase, slowly counted singles, and stuffed the cookies into his backpack. The man at the counter even said, “It’s okay. Take your time” and smiled.

Wow. This sort of collective waltz of kindness was taking place and it started to overwhelm me. I felt like I could just burst into tears just by looking at the faces turned soft and kind eyes all around me. Look at everyone being so NICE to each other.

I asked that man if he needed anything else and he told me he would wait for his group and  then asked if I could escort him back to the bench area. I obliged and made sure he was seated and wished him a Happy Valentine’s Day. Before I left I asked the girl, who started this chain reaction of kindness, what her name was. Linda. Sweet Linda who saw someone in need and made sure he got help.

“Linda. Thank you for asking me to help YOU by helping someone else. Have a beautiful day.” And I made my way to my car.

Driving back to the office was a bit of a challenge because I couldn’t stop the tears from pooling in my eyes. What a beautiful moment to my day. I learned so much in that 10 minutes with these strangers. I witnessed that sometimes help takes more than one person and sometimes you have to ask for other to help with your words, with your eyes, and with your patience. I also witnessed the beauty of freely accepting help from someone when it is offered. Without fear, without suspicion, with out hesitation, he took my arm and blessed me by accepting help. And I wanted to thank him, but didn’t want to seem weird. But I wanted to say, “Thank you for showing me this. Thank you for giving me your trust. Thank you”.

God. You are real. You are beautiful. And you showed me your love once again. Thank you for the Valentine. I promise I will send it out to someone else.

c940t8Blessed Be and Happy Valentine’s Day


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