celebrate kindness

Posts Tagged ‘starbucks


This morning I woke up giddy about random acts of kindness floating in my brain. A coworker was celebrating her 40th birthday and another friend’s miracle baby was turning one. Birthday celebrations ALWAYS bring me joy (even when I’m not a part of the festivities!) I was hoping to do something special today to honor them both.

I saw this AWESOME community fundraiser where 100% of the proceeds would be donated to a local family whose daughter was diagnosed with brain cancer:


I ADORE businesses that give back like this! And 100% profit? Unheard of. I decided this would be a perfect birthday RAK to not only honor my friends, but bless others as well. 

My plan was pretty simple: swing by the elementary school after work, buy a box of donuts (maybe 2!) then take them with me to my hair appointment and pass them out.  After all, who can resist Sugar Shack donuts?

Sometimes best laid plans go awry.

I got engrossed in my work and left school later than planned. Arriving at the fundraiser, I saw the line was wrapped around the side of the building with only 30 minutes left in the sale.

Egads.

I got in line, determined to wait it out, then saw a school representative heading our way.

“All they have left is blueberry and red velvet.”

That was fine. Any kind of Sugar Shack donut would do.

“The wait from here might be more than 30 minutes.”

Hmmm. That might be an issue. My hair appointment was in 45 minutes and I still needed time to drive there.

“The max amount of donuts you can purchase is 6 because they are running out of batter.”

Ugh. 

My brain started practicing probability. What were the chances I would get to the front of the line in 30 minutes? Would they even have 6 donuts left for purchase? Should I wait or should I stay?

I reached into my wallet, grabbed a handful of bills and tossed them into the donation bucket near the line. My posture was a little deflated as I walked back to my car empty-handed, but I quickly reminded myself of my purpose.

Today is a celebration of two special birthdays. Maybe I could find a different way to honor these sweet gals.

I stopped by Starbucks and decided to surprise my hair stylist, Hayley, with two sweet surprises: a chocolate chip frappuccino and a cute decorated cookie.

Arriving at my hair appointment, Hayley was delightfully surprised, but whispered in my ear as we walked back to her station.

“Does this drink have dairy?”

Oh no. Once again my good intentions were dashed with a detour, this time due to allergies.

“Well, you could always find a friend and pay-it-forward,” I offered.

Within seconds a voice piped up behind us. “I’m a friend!” We turned to see her co-worker smiling, pointing at the dairy-filled drink. Laughing, Hayley passed the drink along, making the other gal’s smile even brighter.

Sometimes our plans simply don’t work out the way we want. Sometimes those plans work out the way they should

It was a positive thing that the Sugar Shack line was so long around the building and they had sold so many donuts. Look at all the money raised to help a well-deserving family!

My hair stylist received an unexpected surprise and got to share in the joy of blessing someone else.

Another hair stylist enjoyed a cold drink as she worked the late shift this evening.

Best of all, my birthday friends were thought of today with love and celebration and others were blessed simply because they were born.

Today was a delightful day! ūüôā

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How many of you dread the word “Monday”?

One click of a Google search for “Monday quotes” and you can see the struggle is real:

Monday Quotes

What if it was possible to actually look forward to Monday? Say what? Yes! I’m serious! What if you could start your week with anticipation of something good instead of something bad.

Impossible? I think not.

For those of you on Twitter, you already know a few hashtags people follow for inspiration. You can now add #celebratemonday to your list. No, I didn’t create the hashtag (even though some of you thought I did!) Those kudos belong to principal Sean Gaillard, a motivating force behind the Monday positivity movement. Check out this article by ISTE, explaining how it all began!

This Monday morning, I woke to find a tweet from Sean giving me a shout-out on Twitter:

Sean Gaillard Tweet

When was the last time you had someone give you a shout-out to others? On social media? On a MONDAY MORNING?

My day was made and I hadn’t even left my house.

I was tagged in another tweet from Ashley Hurley, a gal in my virtual PLN:

Ashley's Tweet

 

So inspiring! Already my brain was spinning, thinking of a random act of kindness I could do to #celebratemonday. How fun!

I had to leave school early today to take my middle child to get braces on his bottom teeth (definitely not a RAK in his eyes!) and while I waited in the office for him to gather his belongings from class, I gazed at the beautiful tree painted on the office wall.

Not just any tree. A Giving Tree.

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There were only a few leaves left on the tree, but surely I had something I could give. I reached up and removed a leaf to bless a teacher at my son’s school.

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While I waited in the orthodontics office for the dental technicians to add brackets and wires to my child’s teeth, I thought about the leaf I pulled. I don’t know Ms. Owens, but I could imagine her purpose for those stress balls. Maybe she’s a SPED teacher and knows how some students need to keep their hands active to refocus their attention. Maybe she’s a P.E. teacher and wants to use the balls as part of a class activity. Perhaps she’s a science teacher and wants to use the balls in an experiment. No matter the reason, she needed the balls and I couldn’t wait to fulfill her wish.

Guess who’s getting 12 new stress balls soon! ūüôā

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Later today, I had another friend, Kitty Tripp, tag me in her post about a random act of kindness she completed for a stranger:

Kitty Tweet

So awesome!

If you are looking to be inspired on a Monday morning, check out the hashtag #celebratemonday on Twitter. You might be amazed how good it will make you feel! Share your joys as well – celebrating Mondays inspires everyone!

Have a wonderful week ahead! Feel free to comment below with something good that happened to you today and share with a friend!

 

This afternoon I decided to leave school at a decent time (something about being the last car in the parking lot twice this week, walking alone in the dark, makes me remember how much I dislike the time change!) I still had work to do, so I thought it would be a nice change to visit a local Starbucks and continue my tasks with a warm Skinny Peppermint Mocha by my side.

The coffee shop was brimming with people; most seats were taken, but I was lucky enough to snag a comfy armchair by the window (and an outlet!) Two of my co-workers called out to me and after a few moments of chit-chat, I claimed my chair of choice and got in line to purchase my drink.

That’s when I saw the sign.

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Buy one, get one free! Awesome! I turned to the person beside me and smiled. “Are you getting a holiday drink today?” I asked. She returned my smile and replied, “Oh yes!” My smile grew as I pointed to the sign behind the barista. “I’m going to buy your drink today – you can have my free one!” The woman was surprised at my gesture, offering to pay half, but I just laughed in the joy of the moment. “No, no, this is a random act of kindness for YOU! Please don’t pay for a thing!” We ordered our drinks and I gave her my business card so she could¬†read about her RAK later. She asked me if I was a teacher and when I nodded yes, she said, “Everything about you seems like a teacher!” I was humbled by her compliment, reminded again of the joy I have in my career.

She didn’t want her photo taken, so I captured one of our cups – two strangers enjoying a shared moment of glee.

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You know what’s really awesome about today’s RAK? Neither one of us cared what color cup our coffee was served in, nor did we engage in a theological debate about symbolism or religion. It was just one person doing something nice for someone else with a promise to “pay it forward for the next person.”

Isn’t that what it’s all about? ūüôā

As we enter the holiday season, transitioning from carved pumpkins to carved turkey, I encourage you to look for opportunities to show kindness to others in unexpected ways. It doesn’t take much to brighten a stranger’s day!

Be blessed and as always, thanks for reading! More blog posts to come soon – I have so many stories to share!

AMOK2

When you tell someone you spent the morning running amok, you are sure to receive some odd looks. After all, who announces their seemingly uncontrollable behavior with such joy? This is when I wish little speech bubbles would appear above our heads when we talk, so people can see that I’m referencing #AMOK, the Annual Melee of Kindness. This annual event, sponsored by RandomActs, is a global flash mob of sorts; people all across the world complete random acts of kindness for two designated days and share their stories with others. (Go ahead. Search the hashtag #AMOK on Twitter and see all the awesome ways people are being kind!)

This morning, in less time it takes for me to vacuum my house, I completed 6 RAKs for #AMOK. It was so much fun! Here are the things I did:

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1.  I went to Starbucks to purchase a few gift cards. While in the drive through waiting to reach the cashier, a small feather floated across my windshield (very Forrest Gump-like.) I watched it, mesmerized, as it skimmed the slight breeze, flitting right, then left, then right again, to finally rest inside my side door window.

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Now you may not believe in signs from above, and that’s fine, but for me, this was like a smile from heaven to start my RAKs #AMOK! When I finally made it to the cashier to purchase my gift cards, I bought the drink of the person in the car behind me and passed along this note:

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2. My next stop was to purchase three lottery tickets from a local convenience store. Then I went to Kroger to see who deserved a chance of hitting it big.

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The first car I saw was parked diagonally from me. You could tell from the door that the person had been in an accident and had their car fixed with spare parts. I thought they might deserve a chance at some better luck, so I placed my note with one lottery ticket under their windshield wiper.

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The next car that caught my eye had a personalized plate focused on children. That made me smile, so I left them a lottery ticket, too.

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My third lottery ticket went to a van parked in the special parking place reserved for adults with small children. I remember the times I’ve had to go grocery shopping with little ones in tow and it is never a relaxing task. I thought maybe a lottery ticket on their dash might brighten their day, too.

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3.  With a pocketful of quarters, I made my way into Kroger. I stocked the bottom row of candy and toy dispensers to surprise any children who may be shopping with their parents that day.

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Did you know that some of the bottom row dispensers cost MORE than the ones right beside them? ME NEITHER! How frustrating for a child OR parent to have to understand that logic! I went ahead and added a few more quarters so no one would be disappointed.

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4.  I left money on a Redbox machine to pay for someone’s movie for the day. I even hid it behind the screen so there would be an element of surprise! (I love surprises!)

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5.  Who can resist Girl Scout cookies? Often, when I’m entering or exiting a store, I’m consumed by an overwhelming sense of guilt because these sweet girls are trying to raise money for their troop, but we’ve already bought cookies from our niece. (Heaven knows we do NOT need any more cookies in this house!) Today, however, I went right up to the table, money in hand, and asked if I could by a box to donate to someone else. Thankfully, they were prepared for my request with a box already designated for donations to the Hanover Safe Place. I let the Girl Scout choose her favorite box (Samoas!) to donate on behalf of #AMOK.

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(Yes, her mom gave verbal permission for me to post these photos!)

6.  My final random act of kindness was done as I was heading back to my car. I saw one of the Kroger workers gathering all the shopping carts to return to the store. I recognized him instantly (I shop at Kroger a lot), and approached him with a smile. “Hi,” I began, as he turned his head in my direction. “I know you never ask for tips and this is just part of your job, but I wanted to take a moment to say thank you for all you do. You remind me a lot of Mr. Leon who used to work here; I’m sure he would be proud of all you do to help others.” With that, I placed $5.00 in his hand as the smile spread across his face. “Thank you ma’am,” he replied, as I quickly turned and walked to my car.

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My morning RAKs were quick little sprinklings of kindness here and there; nothing outrageous or grand, but small reminders to others that there is still good in this world. Imagine how wonderful this world would be if EVERYONE ran #AMOK with kindness!

Live today repay quote

“You have not lived today until you have done something for someone who can never repay you.” ~ John Bunyan

I’ve seen this quote again and again posted in my favorite social media sites and it gives me pause each time I see it. Instantly I think of¬†grandiose actions: paying off someone’s Christmas gift layaway at Walmart, giving a struggling family one month’s rent, hosting a huge Thanksgiving dinner for military personnel who can’t be with their families during the holidays. Oh, how I would love to do these things! To be able to bless someone in such a way that they can never repay you… wow. That could be considered the ultimate random act of kindness.

Winter is now upon us, the cold snap biting through layers of warm clothes wrapped around my body. I am not a fan of winter. If I had my way, I would stay in my warm home from Thanksgiving to Easter, only peeking out my head like a groundhog to see if spring was indeed six weeks away. The mere mention of winter weather makes me shiver with goosebumps on my arms. I absolutely hate being cold!

So you can imagine my delight in discovering Starbuck’s “Buy One, Get One Free” promotion on steaming hot holiday drinks a few weeks ago. Two for the price of one AND I can stay warm while blessing someone else, too! Awesome!

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My RAKs are simple RAKs. I’ve never had the financial means to do the extraordinary RAKs like others, so I do little things here and there in my own way to brighten someone else’s day. When I see something I can get for free, my first instinct is to grab it, then give it away. Sharing is fun!

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On this particular cold afternoon, I decided to bless a stranger on the street with a caramel brulee latte. I could only imagine how cold it must be to stand outside, hours at a time, waiting and hoping for meager donations kind people may give. Now I know there are many out there who would like to debate the issue of panhandling, and I will admit that there are times when I really just want to drive from one location to the next without a reminder of those more unfortunate than me. But this day was different.

I drove for a bit heading towards the city, surprised at the lack of people asking for help on the street. I could see tree limbs bending in the wind, fall leaves rustling across the ground. It really was a cold day. Maybe even too cold for the panhandlers.

Then I saw him. Like others I’ve seen in the past, he held a sign in his hand. “HOMELESS PLEASE HELP ME” written in large block letters. I could even see words he had written on the side. “Drug Free. Alcohol Free.” I guess it was his way of reassuring any generous souls that he wouldn’t abuse donations given.

As I pulled a little closer in the traffic by the stoplight, I took notice of details. His sign looked new, still white as snow. He wore a heavy coat, zipped up the front. He looked pretty well dressed for a homeless person and his face seemed free of dirt and grime. As he turned to the side, I could even see he was wearing name brand jeans.  It was in that moment I did something that I swore I would never do.

I judged him.

In the millisecond it took for me to process all this information as my car inched through the turning lane, I kept driving. I didn’t make eye contact. I decided to look for someone else who needed more help than him.

Four left hand turns later, I was back where I started, driving down the same road still looking for a homeless person to bless with a hot drink. I saw the same man with the sign, but this time I heard the whisper on my heart:

“Him. ¬†Yes, him. ¬†Give him the coffee.”

I pulled into the turning lane and once again waited at the stoplight. I caught his eye and motioned for him to come towards my car. I opened my window and held out the still steaming cup of coffee along with a Starbucks bag filled with napkins. I smiled as he approached my car.

“Hi there. It’s really cold out here and I thought you might like something warm today. Be blessed!” His hardened face broke into the sweetest smile and I knew in that moment I was forgiven for my previous judgment. “Thank you. Thank you so much,” he replied. As he reached for the coffee, his bony fingers brushed mine and they were ice cold. Stiff. Frozen by the chill of the day.

And then I saw his coat.

The huge winter coat with the fuzzy hood that looked so warm and cozy from a distance was actually quite worn, with tattered edges on the bottom. The color was faded by weather and life, the side ripped from armpit to waist. Stuffing the color of gravel billowed from the rip. This coat, and this man, had seen better days I’m sure. He took the coffee and napkins, walked past my car, then turned around to take a sip of the warm drink.

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I snapped a quick photo from my side mirror then drove home in humbled silence. A cup of coffee. Such a small thing, really. Didn’t cost me a dime. (I used a gift card to purchase my drink – thanks Kristy for your RAK to me!) Here I had set out to bless a stranger and ended up being the one blessed in return with a reminder not to judge those around me.

I don’t know his story. I didn’t even ask his name. But he was the one God wanted to bless; I was merely the messenger. While I’m sure this doesn’t qualify as a grand act of generosity, it still felt great to give to a stranger who could never repay me. Since he can’t pay me back, maybe he can pay me forward, by sharing kindness with someone else.

It only takes one to start a domino effect. Be the domino. You are destined for greatness. Go and do good in this world!

Ahhhh… another year of Black Friday has officially come and gone. Like years past, I spent the day doing random acts of kindness in the midst of my shopping, looking for opportunities to bless others with kindness. Here’s a list of what I did!

1.  I taped a dollar bill to a Matchbox car at Five Below so a child could purchase the car for free.

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Shopping at 5:00 in the morning – still dark outside!

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2.  I blessed a stranger at Shoe Carnival with a $5 off coupon for the boots she was preparing to buy. She was thrilled with the unexpected surprise!

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My #RAKFriday card

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3. ¬†My cousin, Becky, works at our local JCPenney store, so I wanted to bless her with a random act of kindness, too (God bless ALL the retail workers on Black Friday!) I went to the store to find out when she was working, only to discover that her shift was almost over. Luckily, her awesome brother, Anthony, blessed her at midnight with a Frappuccino.¬†He RAK’d her with a Frap! So funny!

Me with my fabulous cousin, Becky

Me with my fabulous cousin, Becky

JCPenney stores were doing their own random acts of kindness, tweeting out good deeds with the hashtag #JustGotJingled. They think I have a pretty amazing family, too!

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4.  While shopping at Target, I taped a Free Compliments sign to the inside of a restroom door. I also let someone go ahead of me in line.

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5. ¬†While shopping at Claire’s, I saw this adorable little girl getting her ears pierced. What a milestone moment! I asked her mom if I could buy her a pair of earrings to celebrate the occasion. (Then I went and bought her two!)

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When I paid for the earrings, I also donated $1 to St. Jude Children’s Hospital.

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6.  As I drove to a different mall and searched for a parking space, I passed up the close spot to bless someone else with a shorter walk.

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7.  After picking up one last gift, I left the mall to head home. Traffic was crowded, but I made sure to leave space and waved a truck through so they could enter the line. May not seem like much, but the people in the truck were all smiles!

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8.  I wrapped up my day by stopping by Starbucks and buying snowmen cookies for my kids and a latte for my husband.  I then gave up my table so an older couple could have a place to sit.

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#RAKFriday 2014 was a great success! If you did anything kind for someone today, comment below or tweet it to me @HCPSTinyTech. Be sure to include the tag #RAKFriday so we can have all the RAKs in one place.

I wish you a blessed holiday season! RAK on!

 

 

Twitter logo

If you are reading this post, you are somehow impacted by social media.  Maybe you prefer Facebook to Instagram, or perhaps you idle your time pinning ideas on Pinterest.  Whether you have a smart phone, an iPad, or even a Nook, you are connected to those around you.

Connected.

I am so thankful to be living in this digital age, where free-flowing communication keeps me updated, informed, and in-the-know about those things that might otherwise slip my attention. ¬†Now, I know there are many people out there who may prefer the more traditional forms of communication: phone calls, letters, face-to-face visits… and that’s great for them! ¬†I enjoy, however, the fast-paced, never-ceasing overload of photos, words, and resources that magically appear on my phone at the touch of a button.

I am connected.

Today marked a milestone for me on Twitter.  After only four and a half months of engaged interactions, I received a notification that I now had 1,000 people following me Рhow exciting! Now to answer the question you may (or may not) be wondering:  Do I actually know all 1,000 people in that list?

The simple answer is: No! ¬†That’s the beauty of social media, my friends. You don’t necessarily have to “know” people to learn from them. ¬†I use Twitter to engage my mind. ¬†Learn more. ¬†Do more. ¬†Be inspired. ¬†Think deeper. ¬†And today, I have 1,000 people to thank for making me a better leader, a better mom, a better person.

On Twitter, we call those “people” whom we follow closely our “PLN” (Personal Learning Network). These are the people who post links and tweets we then retweet or mark favorite. ¬†Sometimes we learn about them personally; sometimes it’s strictly business. ¬†There are Twitter chats; hundreds, in fact, where we can gather at the same time, half a world apart, and converse. ¬†Share ideas. ¬†Ask questions. ¬†Brainstorm. ¬†Grow.

It’s hard to believe it’s only been 4 months since I presented an Ignite session at the ISTE 2014 conference in Atlanta. ¬†My interactive world has exploded with connections left and right. ¬†I am in a constant state of life-long learning, a path which grows longer each day, but is marked by sunshine and joy. Nowhere else can I receive free professional development, in 2 minutes or less, while waiting in line at the grocery store.

My PLN rocks!

So today, in honor of @elearningpros becoming my 1,000th Twitter follower, I performed a random act of kindness to celebrate!

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I wanted to do something techie Рafter all, this was a social media celebration, so I picked up a few things at the store on my way to Starbucks.  I found an awesome Smartphone notebook that had app icons on the front (how cool is THAT?)  I also picked up a set of snazzy earbuds and a 2-in-1 Stylus/Ink Pen, too.

Smartphone notebook

Smartphone notebook

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Earbuds and stylus pen

I wrote a note to go with the items, then placed them in a bag which I will leave on this Starbucks table after I finish typing this post:

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Maybe it’s a geeky thing to do, but you know what? ¬†I’m a tech geek at heart. This Twitter milestone reminds me that we are all part of a vital network of people – near and far. ¬†Everyone has something of value to share. ¬†Whether it’s a resource link on Twitter, a photo of your kids on Facebook, or a really cool recipe idea on Snapguide – sharing your knowledge, sharing your skills, sharing your LIFE, makes a positive impact on others.

Keep sharing and celebrate the many milestones in your life! Feel free to follow me on Twitter, too, if you are interested in learning more about instructional technology! ūüôā

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UPDATE: ¬†As I had more writing tasks to complete, I decided to stay at Starbucks for a bit to see if anyone would take the bag of goodies I left to be discovered. ¬†It’s always an interesting perspective, people watching. ¬†I saw two separate people peek inside the bag, then put it back. ¬†I saw a teenager nudge his younger sibling to open the bag, only to be disappointed, with no toys or “fun things” inside.¬† I even saw a group of teenagers arrive and animatedly discuss the contents of the bag, which was quite enjoyable to listen to only a few feet away, until they started discussing the value of each item in the bag. ¬†I was a bit dismayed when one of the teens took the earbuds, but left the stylus and notebook. ¬†My first thought was actual embarrassment, that my surprise gifts had been shunned by adolescents who simply misunderstood the purpose of my RAK. ¬†Then my thoughts shifted. ¬†It was a free gift, after all. Did she not feel worthy to take the entire bag? ¬†Or perhaps she¬†felt guilty taking everything, and wanted someone else to share in the joy of discovery. ¬†Maybe she was just a teenager who lost her earbuds and needed new ones.

I am a Pollyanna at heart.  I watched this gal, her new earbuds grasped in her hands balanced with her specialty Starbucks drink, and I would like to think that her day was blessed by my generosity.  After all, new earbuds is a cool find for a teenager.

For the next person who receives my RAK bag, I hope you might find joy in the items that remain, even without the earbuds. ¬†After all, it’s the thought that counts. ¬†ūüôā

 


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