Alright, I am on a one topic kick again, but all of this talk of helping and being kind to strangers has brought to mind one of my very favorite little things a stranger once did for us.
We were staying at a condo in GA for a month a few years back. At the time I had three kids. The oldest of whom was four. Mike was at work and the kids and I were the lone swimmers at the outdoor pool.
A very gruff looking construction worker came through the gate to the pool. I guiltily admit that I was a bit wary of him. As I mentioned, we were the only ones there. He was stocky, dirty, long haired, full bearded, covered in tattoos, and smoking a cigarette (something my kids had recently learned was not something we did!)
He walked to the vending machine and purchased himself a bottle of coke. As he left, however, he called to me, "Hey, I left money in the machine in case your kids want to get something."
Silly. Such a little thing, but my kids were giddy about it. The best thing was what a great lesson it taught them. They were clearly aware that outwardly he looked a bit unconventional and that he was even doing something we didn't condone (smoking), and they were so excited that he did something so thoughtful. To them, such an unexpected treat was about the most kind thing someone could have left us. Ever since then, when we talk about not judging others or when we discuss how not everyone that does things differently from what we expect of them is bad, they bring up that man. "Oh," they'll shout excitedly, "Like that guy in GA who was smoking and looked kind of mean, but he was SO SO nice!!"
Anyway, I loved the lesson that one construction worker taught me and my kids -- how happy it makes people when you offer even the smallest gesture of kindness and how important it is that we never judge a book by its cover.
Thanks crazy tattooed Georgian construction worker!