It was one of those stressful days at work where jewelry orders were delayed, the construction work over my home studio sounded like they were coming through the ceiling (again), I had worked too many consecutive days (ok, weeks) without a day off and I may have sent an email to an already unhappy client with SO SORRY FOR YOUR INCONTINENCE (thank you spell
By 1 pm, my co-worker could see an intervention was needed before I clawed through the walls back to sanity. She suggested I take a break. I was thinking I wanted to sit down and a nice glass of wine after work.
I somewhat guiltily, I left my "to do" list and headed to the grocery and liquor store. After filling my cart with tons of food including some well-deserved honey-glazed donuts for me, I wheeled my cart to the top of the liquor-store ramp.
"NOOOOO MAM!!!" The liquor-store clerk screamed jarringly up to me from across the store. "No carts in the store!!!".
Thwarted from having a glass of wine after my long day, I continued to push my cart, somewhat angrily towards my car when, what appeared to be a homeless man with a bottle of wine in hand, stopped me in my tracks.
"Excuse me!" he yelled out. "I can watch your grocery cart while you shop for booze," he offered.
I paused. I really wanted to keep walking.
I looked at his old ragged clothes, his wrinkled and weathered face and, then straight into his bright eyes in the dark parking lot.
Knowing my luck today, he just might take off my groceries. If he DOES steal my food, I quickly reasoned, he probably needs my groceries more than I do (except maybe the donuts my subconscious screamed!)
But - despite this appearance - his eyes were warm and kind. Deep blue. I reluctantly agreed he could watch my cart.
After I bought my wine, I decided to get an extra bottle of chardonnay for him too...hopeful he was still there with all my food.
He was. I handed him the bottle and said, "Thank you for being honest, patient and kind...when so many people are not."
He smiled. Warmth shot out of his smile like light through a pinhole camera.
He then shared his story: he said when he was homeless for many years. During his street days, he said ONE act of kindness in his day made such a huge difference. He vowed when he got off the street, he would return 'the favour' every day. I softened. He explained that none of his five kids spoke to him anymore, even though he was recently off the street. He shared with me he just landed his first job, fixing steps at Victoria Park. He said things were changing for him.
I told him, in the dark parking lot, that things had also just changed for me: he had just turned my day around with his kindness.
I walked to my car, my shoulders now relaxed, with a little smile on my face. In a sometimes impatient world where we mostly communicate online with each other, I was grateful for this kind human exchange with an old man who shared with me and showed me a small bit of kindness.
One act of kindness. Sometimes that is all it takes to change someone's day.
Note: We loved selling the above pictured local art from Orillia at our holiday pop-up shot this past holiday season. Such a great reminder.