This morning I was doing some last-minute grocery shopping before a Christmas Eve dinner later on tonight. I met a friend at the store, who shared this story with me about hugging a stranger:
She had been shopping the previous day for a few groceries. The store was busy with holiday shoppers with just a couple of days left before Christmas. She finished her shopping and was in line at the register, unloading the few items she was buying onto the conveyor belt, toward the cashier, ready to check out, prepared to pay with her bank debit card. Unfortunately, after each item was scanned, when the machine asked her to enter her secret code, she realized that she had completely forgotten her secret code! After a few unsuccessful tries guessing the code, she noticed that a line was forming due to her delay. Finally she gave up and asked the checker to put everything back. She would have to come back after she found the code written down at home.
“Excuse me ma’am,” came a calm, pleasant voice from behind her. “I couldn’t help but overhear that you are having some trouble with your card. It would be my pleasure to pay for your groceries.” Reluctantly she accepted the gift of kindness shown by this man. The stranger paid the cashier and my friend gave the generous stranger a hug. Not because of the amount he paid. It was a fairly small amount, but because of his thoughtful gesture on her behalf.
She left the store filled with gratitude for the kindness of a stranger. The story doesn’t end there. Each time she tells it, the act of kindness is re-lived.