A Scrooge and the Salvation Army bells.... ©BobbieDeLeon
It's officially cozy season!!! This is my most favorite time of the year! Holiday craft markets, buying gifts from local stores, the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade! Writing letters to Santa, Christmas movies, hot coco, peppermint tea! Christmas light tours, it's just non-stop magical to me. Today it challenged me… I had to run to the grocery store for a few last-minute things. On my way in, I saw a man dressed in business attire ringing the bell for the salvation army donation bucket. He wasn't very kind and was clearly not in a good mood. I observed him for a few minutes; I watched him ignore people; I watched him not thank a single person who donated; I watched him roll his eyes at cheerful people.
As I passed by the man to enter the store, I waved. He raised an eyebrow, nodded his head, and rolled his eyes. I had a mask on, but I smiled underneath it, which I do often. I purchased the items I needed and realized something.... another person's attitude should have no effect on my attitude, kindness or generosity. I think when you've been in a position to depend on that type of generosity; it makes you much more likely to notice what isn't seen or said.
I being to wonder…What was going on in this man’s life? Was he volunteering because it was required? Was he fulfilling community service? Or is it possible he volunteered but at some point after volunteering something hard or bad happened? Maybe his job is a horrible place to work, and he had to come ring that bell after dealing with awful people all day? The possibilities were endless, so because I don't know his story; I have zero right to judge him. Then I did what keeps my heart, thoughts and intentions pure. I did what makes sure I remember not to judge people for any reason. I took the amount I planned to give on my way out and I doubled it. The first amount was my normal giving attitude. the added amount was to remind me we are all human, and we all have bad days. Don't judge, for any reason.
Does that mean I approved of his demeanor, attitude, or the way he was treating people? 100% no. What I approve of is the benefit of the doubt, which we rarely give people anymore. Sometimes a little kindness, kind eyes, an acknowledgment, just letting someone know you see them, can make a tremendous difference.
As I was walking out of the store, I remembered the man ringing the Salvation Army bell didn't thank anyone. So, when I put my donation into the bucket, I thanked him. I also looked him in the eyes. He raised an eyebrow again, shook his head and said, "thank you", then double checked to make sure I had pushed the money into the bucket far enough, which made me laugh a little.
Did I change his night? Probably not, but he said thank you, which means I changed something. And I walked away okay with whatever the outcome, because I had done all that was within my power at the time to do.
This experience reminded me that we all need to try to be a little kinder, a little more understanding and empathetic. Let's try to remember that some people have no choice but to work a job they hate to keep their family fed. That some people lost people they love recently. That a ton of people are battling depression and or anxiety they don't know how to deal with or fix. Let’s try to remember that people are lonely, tired, and that it's been a traumatic couple of years, and let's give ourselves and everyone around us a whole lot of love and grace.
Be the person who goes above and beyond what you have to, or what they expect of you. If you can walk good, park further down so people who can't walk good can have the closer spots. Hold the door open for people, put your shopping cart where it belongs. If you see something that needs to be done and you can do it, then get it done. If you are buying presents, go check out the local shops in your area and support a person just like you, who is trying to make it.
Let's Just be kinder, it feels so much better, and it always, always comes back around.
I hope you all have an amazing November!!!
Happy Cozy Season
Be Honest, Be Real, Be You