Every now and then something happens that causes me to stop in my tracks. Perhaps a random act of kindness, a simple gesture that was so unexpected and sometimes it’s just an unsolicited smile.
Do you know what I mean?
A very simple yet extraordinarily beautiful thing happened recently and left a very
lasting impression on my heart.
One that perhaps is likely never to be forgotten.
It was an ordinary day like 99.9% of our days….
running errands and swinging into Costco to pick up a few items.
Of course I timed it so that the samples would likely be out as the samples
are everyone’s favorite thing, right?
And those doing marketing are definitely sharp, since I have bought more than
one sample after tasting it – something that I’m quite certain I would have never
purchased without tasting first!
This particular day as we meandered through the store we slowly made our way to the
back of the store and before long the kids excitedly pointed,
“Mom, they have popcorn!!”
Have you ever seen the big popcorn sample display? About 8 flavors of popcorn to
sample from and each rather delectable and all completely Gluten Free!
And although we have never bought the popcorn, we surely enjoy a little
sample anytime it’s being offered.
As my sweet pile was trying to decide which sample they wanted to try an even
larger crowd was gathering, semi-waiting their turns and I was spanning my
treasures to make sure everyone was doing what they were supposed to be doing….
and suddenly, I witnessed one of the most profoundly simple, yet amazingly
beautiful acts I have seen in a really, really long time.
The kids were stretching across the length of the popcorn cart and Jubilee
was farthest away at the opposite end.
And truly, Jubilee is one who kind of just waits her turn.
Watching life unfold.
Taking it all in.
Not going to be pushy.
She’s also not going to usually hurry.
Observing everyone else who seems to know exactly what to do.
And with this steady stream of people wanting their popcorn, they were kind of gently
pushing their way in front of her and in very typical Jubilee-fashion she was just letting them.
And suddenly he saw her.
Yes, one of the young men working behind the popcorn counter stopped completely
and patiently he waited until her eyes looked at his and ever-so-sweetly
he tenderly questioned,
“Would you like some popcorn?”
Friends, there is no doubt that this young man had to have a gentle soul.
He had to have someone with special needs in his life.
The look on his face was honestly, almost angelic.
He didn’t rush her.
He didn’t rush even one speck.
He didn’t look around at the pushing crowd.
He didn’t tend to more popcorn hurriedly doing the task at hand.
He just waited, his eyes fixed gently on her.
It was profound.
She kind of broke from her gaze and nodded her head, “Yes.”
Without moving a muscle and staring intently at her, he responded kindly,
“Okay, what kind would you like?”
I felt like I was in Jesus’ presence as the disciples brought the little ones to Him.
And honestly, in all my years, I don’t remember ever witnessing such a tender moment between
a total stranger and one of my little ones.
He truly saw my precious little treasure, Jubilee.
Jubilee paused for a moment and said, “That one.”
He gently took the little cup and slowly handed it to her.
I went over close enough and catching his eyes, I mouthed, “Thank you.”
He smiled back.
As I gathered my pile of treasures and we walked around the other side of the now
very full popcorn display, my eyes welled with tears.
It isn’t very often that people these days are that tender with anyone, let alone a perfect
and complete stranger.
Often today the idea is “Hurry! Hurry! Hurry!” but instead of “Hurry! Hurry! Hurry!” his actions and his eyes had graciously said,
What flavor of popcorn you pick even matters – because you matter.”
I walked down a few aisles with the kids and we found ourselves near enough the popcorn display that I had to go say something else. I told the kids to wait just a second and I went back…the crowd had
thinned and I tapped this handsome 20-something’s arm and as he turned my eyes welled again,
“Thank you for noticing my daughter. Not many would stop their day and
give her the time of picking something out….but you did and I am so grateful.”
This sweet young man, quietly said, “Awwwww,” and gently reached out and pulling me towards him, giving me a long sideways hug, squeezing me tenderly.
I have thought about that young man and what he did many times since that day.
I have decided to be more intentional in my love for others.
To stop and love on people.
To give others time.
To not rush through life.
To forget the urgent and the ‘hurry’….
To slowly love those God places around me.
Life speeds by, but the little pauses make all the difference in the world.
Oh my goodness! Now I'm just sobbing…because I'm so touched, and so reminded that intentional love and patience are something I need to practice more. Particularly with my toddler.
It was powerful. I have thought of it so often…and probably to him it was just "another day"….because that's how he lives his life.
Crying! You got me!
It's okay. Crying is good. I cried typing it and cried as it happened and as I talked to him. Powerful thing that love is!
I don't often tear up at things I read. But, this one totally got me. Thanking the Lord for tender strangers!!
Seriously, I walked away changed by this total stranger and he was so youthful too!
Wiping my tears away to smile…this warms my heart. ..
It was indeed beautiful Shelby.
I wish I could have recorded it. I stood kind of stunned at the way he "saw" her and didn't let anything around him turn his attention from her. It was, indeed, beautiful.
Ugh. Sitting here crying. You know your Jubilee is special to me (like every single one of you are) – I just feel like I *get* her in some ways. I know what it's like to try to figure out what's going on around you and everyone else seeming to know what to do (you put that so well). And I love that tenderhearted boy who gave her that gift.
And I need to hug her again soon. And you. And all of yours.
You understand better than most!! And yes, you *must* hug her again. Soon!! xoxoxo
How absolutely beautiful. Life is so precious, so fleeting, we all need to slow down and love more!
I stood completely dumbfounded at how he just stopped. Nothing else mattered. Just Jubilee and what kind of popcorn sample she wanted. It went so against 'the norm'.
Oh friend… what a special gift from God that was to your heart… I love it… Love that God had him on duty at the popcorn sample stand… love that He showed tender love to your jubilee:) So touching and special!
It was such a gift for my soul. It ministered to me on a level that things don't normally 'go to'. It was amazing.
So awesome that he was 'in the moment' and showed his kindness. How can you not notice beautiful Jubilee! That's definitely not something you see everyday. It was nice that you went back to let him know that his actions were so appreciated.
I would have kicked myself if I had merely finished up and then headed for home. No!! I had to tell him the difference he made.
Right!! So glad that you went back and chatted with him. He has NO idea the ripple effect of his kindness!
I have a feeling that he will not forget that in a hurry.
He did it so naturally, it seems most likely that it is his "normal" and maybe it didn't stand out to him at all…other than the silver-haired lady tearing up while telling him how thankful she was for his tender treatment of her daughter. It might be so normal he's still shaking his head and saying, "Hmmm, not sure what that was all about, but hey, she's happy." =)
What a sweet reminder to all of us.
Such a beautiful reminder for *all* of us – to live like this young man did!