Thursday, February 2, 2012

good deeds, peaches and peridots...

In the category of "general areas of improvement" I have made a mental note make sure to do a good deed or two each and every day. I've always felt that the little things in life can really make a big difference in our world. I know that when someone goes out of their way to help me or show me kindness, it boosts my spirits, makes me feel better and makes me want do the same for others.

A couple of recent experiences have really reinforced to me the importance of this resolution improvement opportunity.  I am usually a student of the school that says if you tell someone about your good deed, it doesn't really count, because you may be doing it just so someone will say to you "well, good job, you" and place a gold star on your forehead. Personally, I find it to be much more satisfying to do things that I think are good and helpful, but keep this information a little closer to my skin. But, in this case, I'm going to share.

We have a food bank conveniently located between our home and downtown. Over the years my kids and I have worked there on a number of occasions. When I hear that supplies are low I try to drop off a few bags of non perishables whenever I can. This Christmas break, when the kids were behaving a little too "special" and "entitled", I sent them over with boxes of food in hopes that it would ground them just a bit, it did.

I had picked up a few items to bring to Northwest Harvest, knowing that a significant storm was heading our way. Then I noticed we had accumulated a excess supply of jarred peaches, so, I added those to the bags before I headed downtown. On my way home, it began to snow {the blessed, promised snowstorm}. Snow doesn't come to Seattle very often, so of course the radio was buzzing about the predictions, the cautions we needed to take, etc., etc. The kids were at home and I was looking forward to bringing them the sandwiches from Georges.

As I was driving and watching the flakes fall, I thought about the bags of food and started rationalizing to myself, "I'll be driving by there another time soon. It may be closed already. I should get home to the family {though not even a fraction of an inch had accumulated}."

Then, for some reason a vision came to me. I imagined that if I were in a sad, cold place when it was snowing, how wonderful it would be to be able to have a lovely, flavorful bright orange~yellow slice of peach to enjoy. Based on that thought, I took a quick right to get to NW Harvest as quickly as possible. As I drove down Cherry street, and glanced to the left, I noticed a closed gate. But as I proceeded down the hill a little further, I noticed it was still partially open. A worker and a guard were on the inside of the gate, it was still open by about a foot. They were talking to an older man who was wrapped in a blanket standing outside of the gate. I parked my car, grabbed the bags of groceries and ran up the hill. As I handed over the food I grabbed a jar of peaches from the bag and offered it to the gentleman in the blanket. He glanced at me with the most surprised look and suddenly had the biggest smile on his face as he said "Fruit? For me? I love fruit, and I love vegetables, thank you so much!"

It was a teeny~tiny effort on my part, but I hope it made our storm a little more bearable for him.

More recently, I was SO thankful to benefit from another persons amazing good deed. I'm working on decorations for an upcoming party and went to a local thrift shop to look for a few props. After scouring the aisles, and finding some finds, I went on to run other errands. Just before I was ready to head home, it dawned on me that one of my earrings that I had stowed in a reading glass case was missing. I realized I had first opened the case at the thrift shop while trying to read the markings on this ice bucket.

{how great will that be after a quick polish??}

I rushed back to retrace my steps and to try to find my peridot earring. I visited the two customer service desks, with no success. I've had these earrings for over a decade, they were a mother's day gift, and they have always been my favorites. I looked around again and then went back to the customer service desk to give them my name and number in case it was found. By this time, a new employee had just started her shift. I told her of my plight, and she started searching through her drawers. I almost said that someone had already done that and that I just wanted to leave my contact information. But before I could she said, "oh, here it is!"

I had almost given up hope at this point, so I stared in disbelief as she began peeling away the masking tape to reveal my earring, a little crumpled, but relatively in tact.

As she stretched out the piece of tape, she read the writing on it "oh, someone found it in the back room".  I let them know I was terribly appreciative and asked if I could leave a reward for that employee. "Oh no, but there is the girl who found it." A woman was coming towards us, her head and shoulders wrapped in the most beautiful pink silk floral wrap. 

They explained to her that the earring was mine and told her what a good job she had done. She said she saw it on the floor and could tell it was gold, so she turned it in right away.  I gave her a huge hug and told her how much I appreciated what she had done. As she walked away, I said my good byes to the customer service desk and snuck off after her. I tapped her on the shoulder to express my appreciation again and to offer her a bit of cash. She said, "oh no, no money" we hugged again and she gave me a very sweet, satisfied smile and just walked away. I am sure she could have used the money, but she had a different principle in mind, she knew she had done a very good deed that day, and that was enough for her.

An earring is just a thing, I know, but, boy, these have a significant sentimental value to me and I would have missed that earring dearly. I will always be thankful for the good deed this woman did and am ever more inspired to be sure to do at least one good deed each and every day.


Splendid Sass said...

Such a thoughtful post, Emily! Had me teary-eyed writing about the older man. If we don't love helping others, I don't believe we can be fulfilled persons.
Have a nice evening.

Leslie said...

Emily, What a wonderful feeling it is to help others. When someone shows they care it restores my faith in people. With so much focus on negativity and what is wrong in our society, I think we forget that most of us are thoughtful, caring individuals.

Enjoy this beautiful day.


French-Kissed said...

So glad you shared these stories...doing good things for others really is a gift we give ourselves...and the universe was no doubt smiling on you for your good deed rewarding you with the benefit of another's good deed...and now both good deeds are released to inspire us to goodness...really quite beautiful isn't it.


Nan said...

This reads like an O. Henry story, dear Emily!

quintessence said...

Jermaine said it so well!! And so glad to hear you recovered your earring. You're not going to believe this, but the exact same thing happened to me this week - a favorite earring from an important occasion was left at a store and happy to report found!!

pretty pink tulips said...

I'm so glad that you shared this beautiful and inspiring story. It just goes to show that a small act of kindness and thoughtfulness can fulfill us as much as the receiver. And, the ripple'll just never know!

xo Elizabeth