celebrate kindness

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Today’s random act of kindness is actually a story told through text messages. A few weeks ago, as I was packing up to return home from the ISTE conference, I saw this post on my best friend’s Facebook wall:


Have you ever lost something of value?  Sure you have!  When was the last time you went looking for your car keys or your phone charger?  You know the feeling well… searching… looking… “I thought for sure it was here…”  It’s an uncomfortable state of mind to not know the exact location of something that belongs to you, especially something valuable.

Now imagine that same feeling, but add the realization that what you are looking for is GONE.  Not misplaced.  Not tucked away in a pocket, purse, or briefcase.  GONE.  What feelings flood your mind now?

Confusion.  Violation.  Fear.  Anger.  Angst.  Roll them all together and you are officially racing up and down the tallest roller coaster hills with no end in sight.  Welcome to my best friend’s world.

As I read her message, my blood froze, then boiled.  I know, I know, cell phone theft is on the rise, but it doesn’t make it acceptable by any means!  In this day of digital identity theft, the thought of a stolen cell phone is close to that of a stolen lock-box at the bank. Stop for a moment and think to yourself:  If my phone was stolen, what items could a thief access without my permission?

Did I mention that my best friend did NOT have a lock code activated? (Please don’t lecture her.  She’s heard it ALL.)

As her friend for more than 20 years, I felt like I had an obligation to do something… anything… but what?  I hated standing to the side feeling helpless, imagining the kick-in-the-gut feeling she was going through at that moment.  So I did the only thing I knew to do.  I started text messaging the person who stole my best friend’s phone.

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(If you can’t read the text messages, click here to read them in paragraph form.)

I sent these texts as I was packing.  Waiting for the Marta.  Boarding an airplane.  Arriving home.  I prayed the person who had my friend’s phone would not only receive the messages by sight, but by spirit as well.  I knew it was a long shot.  “Why even make the effort?  What are the chances the person will really turn in the phone?”  Sure, the odds were against me, but I had nothing to lose. (Well, maybe fifty bucks, but even that would be a fair price to pay for my friend’s relief.)

And then… this message on my friend’s Facebook wall:



When I say I believe there is good in this world, I BELIEVE WHAT I SAY!  There IS good in this world!  Her phone was returned, unharmed.  Her identity was not stolen (although they are still closely monitoring all their accounts just in case.)  This was a multi-faceted lesson for her, her friends, her family, and now you, the person reading this blog.

How you react to a situation, no matter what that situation may be, can very well determine the outcome.  I chose to respond with love.  Kindness. Appreciation.  Expectation.  Joy.

And in this specific example… we ALL won. Yay!  🙂

Be blessed as you rise above the turmoil to bring good back into this world. I will be cheering you on, every step of the way!

This morning as I sat listening to the sermon at Cool Spring Baptist Church, something Pastor Brad was saying struck a chord in my heart.  He was quoting Luke 6:37 – 38, talking about how God commands us to give and how when you do, it will be given back to you.  How nothing we own in this world truly belongs to us.  How we need to be kind to others, not stingy with our gifts, talents, and resources.

Wow.  It was if God himself was whispering in my ear, “See?  This is what it’s all about!”

Let me explain a little more.  For the past year, as many of you faithful readers know, I have been on this journey of blessing others with kindness.  I do it with no expectation of reward or acknowledgement, although I do feel compelled to share my experiences with others to inspire and share my joy.  Yesterday, those tables were COMPLETELY turned on me as my husband and I were recipients of the most amazing random act of kindness!

It all started when I told my husband I had to run out to take care of a few errands.  He had been doing yard work around the house and without a second thought had placed his cell phone on the top of my car’s trunk, unbeknownst to me.

(I bet you know where this is going, lol.)

Well, you’re exactly right.  I got in my car and drove to Target with nothing more on my mind than my shopping list.  As I entered the store, I received a phone call from an unknown number (which I usually ignore), but something prompted me to answer it.  On the other line was my husband asking a simple, yet weighty question:  “Is my phone still on the top of your car’s trunk?”

Oh. Dear. Heavens.  The walk back to the car was at a frantic pace, already knowing what I would discover.  No phone.  Ugh.

When was the last time you lost something of value in your life?  Now notice I didn’t say “something valuable” because we all have a different measure of value on different things.  To some, a cell phone is just that – a phone.  Nothing more, nothing less.  To my husband, however, that phone was much more.  (And, I might add, to many of us as well!)  Think for a moment about the impact a lost cell phone would have to your life.  Personal and professional contact information, not stored anywhere else.  Photos.  Apps.  Email.  Banking.  Books.  Yes, I know many of these items can be recovered (well, many except the photos – that’s just heart-wrenching), but think of the time, the inconvenience, the cost involved in replacing a lost cell phone.  And if you have a passcode lock on your phone, well… even if found, how would the person get into your phone to even let you know it was found?

Not the way we wanted to spend our Saturday, that’s for sure.

As I scoured the parking lot and retraced my car’s route, I despondently drove home, sharing in my husband’s panic and loss, when my phone rang again with the unknown number.  (My husband was borrowing another phone to call me).  The excitement in his voice superseded any words he actually spoke.  “You are never going to believe this – I found my phone!”

Praise be to God!!

The next 5 minutes of jubilation was spent with him describing how he simply called his phone number and someone answered the phone (apparently you can answer a phone call without having to enter through the passcode lock – thank heavens!).  The kind stranger, named Robert, was driving the same path as me and happened to see something shiny reflecting against the  pavement, smack in the middle of a busy intersection.  Robert took it upon himself to pull over to the side of the road and actually retrieve the object from the road when traffic subsided.

What he found was an untouched, unmarked, undamaged smart phone.

Can I just stop right here and let that resonate with you for a moment?  Untouched.  Unmarked.  Undamaged.  In the middle of a busy intersection.  Of MOVING VEHICLES.  ON ASPHALT.  Wait – say that again?  Untouched?  Unmarked?  Undamaged?

Ladies and gentlemen, you have just witnessed a modern day miracle.  God is so good!  If you are the owner of a smartphone, you know how easily it can get a scratch (or even worse, a cracked screen!)  Yet here was a phone that survived a 35 mph turn, from the back of a car down to the pavement, in between tires of many other cars traveling down the same path.  Untouched.  Unmarked. Undamaged.  Immaculate.

All I can say is… WOW!

Arriving home, I told my husband he HAD to reward this kind stranger!  I raced upstairs and grabbed a restaurant gift card I just happened to have (I was going to give it as a Christmas gift to a family member) and asked my daughter to make a Thank you card. Then I grabbed my very last Sandy Hook RAK card, #26, and said a prayer of thanks.

photo 1Front of card

photo 2Inside of card

photo 3Back of card

photo 4Gift card with Chase Kowalski’s RAK card (#26 of #26acts)

photo 5The recovered phone

Luke 6:38 says: “Give, and it will be given to you.”  No truer words were spoken in this moment.  This RAK is dedicated to Chase Kowalski, age 7, who like my husband enjoyed running (among other sports ambitions.) According to his memorial website, Chase completed his first triathlon at age six and ran in many community races.  I can’t think of a more perfect child to receive this RAK as you must be quick and speedy to run a race and retrieve a phone from oncoming traffic.

Today I leave you with a quote that was in my Facebook feed this morning.  Without a debate about the accuracy (because we all know not to believe everything we read on the Internet), this quote fills my heart with joy and inspires me to do more with what I have.

“People are often unreasonable and self-centered.  Forgive them anyway.  If you are kind, people may accuse you of ulterior motives.  Be kind anyway.  If you are honest, people may cheat you.  Be honest anyway.  If you find happiness, people may be jealous.  Be happy anyway.  The good you do today may be forgotten tomorrow.  Do good anyway.  Give the world the best you have and it may never be enough.  Give your best anyway.  For you see, in the end, it is between you and God.  It was never between you and them anyway.”  –Mother Teresa

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