A few days before Thanksgiving, I read a post that made me stop and think. It was a simple thing really, a challenge to go out and give strangers a little strip of paper with words of hope and kindness on them. How hard could that be? So, armed with my kindness messages (that I printed from here), I went to work on Black Friday prepared to share. I thought it would be better if I eased into this project by giving them to people I know first. So, I stuffed my apron pocket full of paper and randomly, throughout the morning, asked my friends to reach in for a happy thought. It was wonderful to see the reactions as they read their strips of paper! So much so, that I spread out the project to the customers. But, it all came to a halt when Nathan walked in the shop! I left with my pocket still packed with paper strips.
Last Thursday, Nathan, my friend, Cilla, and I went out shopping for Christmas gifts for Cilla's party. I was armed with my strips of paper, determined to share them with complete strangers and wish them a Merry Christmas. Our target location was Wal Mart.
It took me a minute to bring myself to walk up to a perfect stranger and ask them if they would like a "happy thought". There were a few who said no, looking at me as though I was crazy. But there were also those who gladly accepted them and rewarded me with a big smile or a hug. These positive moments spurred me on to complete my task. I gave half of the strips to Cilla, with the challenge to give all of them away. She did.
There was one woman, an employee that I nearly walked by, who touched me in a most profound way. I turned around and said to her, "I think you need a happy thought." "You know, I do.", was her reply and she chose her strip of paper. Quiet. Then, tears, as she showed me what it said-
You can be brave. You can do difficult things. It will be worth it!.Her next statement shocked me. "My son was murdered last Friday. You don't know how much I needed this. I come to work because I can't stay home." Tears. More tears. A hug for a woman I didn't know but was compelled to give as I thought of my son coming home that same day. My joy, her loss combined together in a moment that is truly beyond description. I will remember her forever.
Cilla and I have plans to go out with pockets full of little strips of paper again. And again. The feeling that comes from doing such a simple thing is better than shopping for presents. So, go. Be brave. Make some one's day. You'll be better for it. Promise.