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The ripple effect

Errands. Errands. Errands.

They never stop.

And, truthfully, they rarely bring me joy.

But recently, a few minor incidents (and a deliberate change in thinking) have altered that fact.

Errands have always meant running like crazy with little time and less money to get things we need so that I can come home and run like crazy some more to do things we need so that I can do as much as I can then collapse into bed so I can get up the next day and do it again.

Today, as I ran my errands in the aftermath of the Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy, I knew that there was not much I could do to help those families from this distance except keep them close in my heart, sending them strength and compassion.

But I could choose to look at my own town differently.

At my third stop of the day, I headed to Aldi — the grocery store famous for requiring you to bring a quarter to get your shopping cart. When you’re done with the cart, you get your quarter back. As I walked up to get my cart, a young man had just given his cart AND an extra quarter to a woman who was preparing to get hers. That woman turned to me and gave me the quarter so that I could use it to get my cart.

And so it went. Each of us handing the quarter to the next customer. When I was finished, I gave the cart to someone without taking their quarter. A tiny pay it forward moment that left me full of joy.

Because of 25 cents and a shopping cart.

That gratitude and joy continued as I headed to my next stop — like a ripple effect.

As I shopped for olive tapenade (which ought to be in the olive and pickle aisle, if you ask me…not in the salsa aisle), a woman in one of the motorized shopping carts was having difficulty getting a frozen turkey out of the freezer. On an ordinary day, I probably would have stopped to help her, but today I stopped and helped her, and as I did so, I briefly looked into her eyes, offered a smile and saw her humanness. She smiled back.

A conscious decision by me to see her as a unique person for just that moment, left me feeling warm and more connected.  I don’t know her name. I will likely never see her again, but it doesn’t matter.

Pay it Forward I felt stronger.

I felt more open.

I felt blessed.

Never underestimate the value of a tiny good deed.

Pay it forward.

Random Acts of Kindness.

Take care of one another.

We can change the world.




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