Yesterday my children had their annual skate party with our homeschool group so we ventured out. It was quite chilly on the 4 wheelers at 23 degrees when we left home and the sun was just peaking over the horizon. I wasn’t thrilled at going in as I had much to do at home but did my “mom duty”. We made a stop at the local McDonalds and the following was the highlight of my day.
There’s an older gentleman who is there frequently drinking coffee and he always has a joke to share with the kids or a story about his younger days. A very kind soul who loves to chat and wears his heart on his sleeve. He never misses a moment to tell a story and many times it’s the same story but each time he tells it I listen as if it were the first time. Yesterday after visiting briefly and hearing his story the kids and I sat down to our meal as we watched him approach several others who although polite didn’t really interact much with him. Once again he comes to our table but this time has a hand full of calendars. All for the coming year and from many different charitable organizations and he asks if my children and I would like them as he explains he recieves dozens every fall. (Obviously he donates to many of these as they were nice full sized color calendars). We accepted and my children thanked him profusely and fawned over the pictures on the calendars doing so with great animation. We had begun to get attention. I’m not one to like to draw attention and usually I want my children to be quieter but this was not one of those times. As I watched my children and the man interact I also started watching the others who moments ago were quietly wiggling in their seats wondering how to avoid talking to this gentleman. They sat there with piqued interest. After leaving our table someone commented that those must be pretty interesting calendars to get such accolades. He walked up and explained that no, they were simply calendars he had no use for and giving them away seemed to be a good idea. Suddenly many wanted calendars-many who moments earlier just wanted to avoid him were now interacting. Once things quieted down I walked over and thanked him again for the gifts and making my children feel special by taking a few moments from his day to spend talking to them. The kids each lined up to thank him again and say goodbye and my 12 year old son reached out to shake his hand. Tears welled up in the old guys eyes.
After we left the kids asked why he had tears in his eyes. I explained they were happy tears. This man shared the joy in his heart and gave them a gift bigger than a simple calendar-he gave them his time. Still not understanding I explained they had given him a gift too-they gave him their time and respect. The few minutes they spent with him made him smile and so happy that it poured out in a single tear.
Upon returning home they summed up for dad the highlight of their day-they showed him their calendars and explained how by receiving them they gave the “Old man at McDonalds the gift of giving” out of the mouths of babes.
I’m not sure who got more out of the event-me for seeing how gracious,kind and loving my children are to others, my kids who suddenly figured out that giving makes you feel as good as receiving or the old fella who by his simple act of kindness changed the hearts of every adult in that room-even if only for a moment.