It was my last Christmas shopping trip to the store. As I loaded my goodies to be checked out I noticed what the woman in front of me was buying. A loaf of bread, laundry detergent, batteries, and some soap. I couldn’t help but feel guilty buying treats, crafts, decorations, and other random un-needed items as I watched her start to count change in her coin purse. I made some short conversation, asked how her day was and if she was ready for Christmas. Then I had that gut feeling, I wanted to help her.
The cashier looked at her and told the woman her total. I immediately piped in, and said, “I’m taking care of this for her.” The woman looked back at me and wrapped her arms around me. I’ve never been hugged so tightly from a stranger and in that moment I knew, I had done the right thing. With tears in both our eyes, she thanked me, wished me a very Merry Christmas and she was off on her way.
My heart was so full and thankful to be able to help her. Though I was a little nervous making such a bold move, something in me told me to help her and I’m so glad I did. Once I got in the car, I called my husband and told him what happened. He was in full support of my newfound way of paying it forward.
This became a new kind of ministry for both me and my husband. Throughout the year we try to be more aware of people around us who we think could use a little help. Later that week we bought dinner for a cop who was eating by himself the day after Christmas. We brought a hot chocolate to a woman working an event parking lot on a cold night. One time there were two young teen siblings pulling cash out of their pockets to pay for their grocery items. I took some cash out of my wallet and quietly gave it to them as I walked by. It doesn’t take much to see who might need some help, or who you feel could use some extra kindness and generosity.
So next time you’re in the mood to pay it forward, look around you (not in the coffee shop drive-thru). There are people all around us who need some love, all year.