An Act of Honesty and Integrity

If you were to ask me to share my recent encounter that showed the goodness of the human soul, I would share this heart-warming story with you…

On Monday, April 4, I left my school right after dismissal to pick up a bale of 400 grocery bags at the neighborhood Publix grocery store for an Earth Day project. I took my phone, driver’s license, and debit card with me – no handbag. While I was waiting for the manager to bring the bags from the stockroom, I decided to buy a mango key lime pie and get $75 cash back with my purchase. When I received my cash, I wrapped the receipt around it and placed it in my pocket. As I was putting the money in my pocket, I said to the cashier, “my pocket is too shallow for cash”, but proceeded to do so anyway.

On my way back to school, I called the office for a dolly to transport the bags to my classroom. I arrived in the front of the school, only to find that there was no dolly, so I went to the office to see what was happening. As I was speaking with my colleague, I reached into my pocket and…guess what? There was no money! I retraced my steps to the car, looked around, but no cash. How was I feeling? Disappointed. I knew that my pocket was too shallow for cash, yet I did not pay attention that fact.

I decided to call Publix because in my heart I felt that if someone found the money, he or she will turn it in. Here is how part of the conversation went:

Me: “Hi, this is Elaine. I just picked up some grocery bags at your store.”

Cashier: “Yes, I remember you.”

Me: “Do you recall that I told you that my pocket is too shallow for cash I got when I bought the key lime pie?”

Cashier: “Yes, I remember. I have your money. A customer turned it in.”

Me: “I am so happy. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! I will be there soon.”

When I hung up the phone, I gave thanks for the person who returned my money and drove back to Publix with smiles on my face and gratitude in my heart.

The person who found my cash could have kept it for himself, but he chose to return it to the store. He demonstrated his honesty and integrity in a very tangible way. What a model of good citizenship!  His actions warmed my heart and reiterated that I am truly blessed. Although I couldn’t give him a tangible reward, I know that he will be rewarded for his act of care and love. I am grateful for this gentleman who showed us the goodness of his soul.

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The Intangible Gift

This week’s photo challenge is about  windows. This popular quote by William Shakespeare comes to mind: The eyes are the window to your soul. However, I won’t be writing about this quote today. I have found that the way we interact with each other, the things we share, the gifts we give etc. are windows – glimpses into our lives.

Recently, I got a special glimpse into a child’s world when she presented me with a Christmas gift.

Bianca* eagerly handed me a gift bag and waited quietly for me to open it. In the bag, there was an apple and two items wrapped in white tissue paper. As I took each item out of the bag, I could feel her eyes on me wondering if I would like her gift. The tissue paper loving held a seashell and a beautiful, handmade, red souvenir box from Honduras.

It was only after I asked if her family went to Honduras that I realized it wasn’t the right question. Bianca and her family have never visited Honduras. The souvenir was a gift to her family. She told me that she found the shell at the beach. The apple was part of her breakfast. Needless to say, I was overwhelmed with her kind and loving gesture.

This child gave me a glimpse of her beautiful and thoughtful heart when she presented me with her gifts.

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I displayed her gifts proudly in my home for the holidays. Each time I looked at her gifts, a tender feeling washed over me. As I write this post, I know in my heart that the intangible gift she gave me will definitely outlast the tangible gifts. I feel blessed to have such a loving and thoughtful child in my life. I am grateful for her gifts.

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*pseudonym

 

Brighten Someone’s Day- Today!

Credit: Bing images

Credit: Bing images

Why seven? Why not ten? Seven has a nice ring to it!

1. Be a coffee fairy. Surprise a co-worker with cup of coffee from his favorite coffee shop. Your heart will smile when you see the joy this simple, inexpensive act will bring to him.

2. Write a “just because” note to someone. Last Thursday, one of my students brought a handwritten note for each of her classmates. The smiles that lit up their faces were invaluable. I took a photo of the class holding up their letters because I want a tangible memory of her thoughtfulness.

3. Let someone go ahead of you in the grocery line, especially if they have just a few items. This happened to me earlier today. This act of kindness brightened my afternoon.

4. When the children are standing outside of the grocery store with their fundraiser chocolate, buy one and then give it back to them to resell. It’s a win-win situation (at least for me) I don’t need the extra sugar and they get an extra dollar.

5. Pay a compliment. Whenever I wear my coral blouse to work, I get lots of compliments. Each compliment brings a smile to my face and brightens my day.

6. The next time you take a digital photo of someone, add a cute frame, speech bubble, or caption before sending it off.

7. Be optimistic. Your positive attitude will rub off. It can be hard at times, but when things are challenging, remind yourself that you have the ability to find a good outcome. A positive attitude is a sure brightener!

When you brighten someone else’s day, the light reflects right back to you!

Credit: Bing Images

Credit: Bing Images

Who Throws Cash Away?

Don’t you wish that sometimes our lives, this journey on Earth came with a pause or rewind button? How wonderful it would be to press that pause button when we are surrounded by people who bring joy to us or moments that gladden our hearts. How convenient it would be to press that rewind button and erase the times that caused us pain or hurt.

Recently, I was in a slump that was a shroud that threatened to envelope my smile, my laughter, and my joy. I know I had to do something about because it was making me emotionally exhausted. I did. I was with some eight year olds and I decided to have my own pep talk with them.

Gift of TodayI started off by telling them that each morning we wake up, we receive a gift. I got blank stares. Yes, a gift of a new day was my response. I continued by asking them, “do you ever discard, or throw away a gift?” Their answer came in a chorus of “NO”. Before I could say anything else, one of the boys said, “that would be like throwing cash away”. I was floored. I’ve often heard that wisdom comes from the mouths of babes, but that was the first time I experienced such a profound thought from a child. I told Patrick that I couldn’t have expressed it any better and indeed, if we were to not value the gift of each day, it would be like throwing cash away.

Don't throw that cash away!

Don’t throw that cash away!

Every day is a gift. The decisions we make, be it small or big contribute to how our day unfolds and the impact those choices will have on our lives. Not every day will be glamorous or full of success. Not every day will be peaceful and relaxing. We may not even like what the gift of a day brings. However, our attitude will determine how we embrace each gift.

In my pep talk with myself, I resolved to greet each day with an attitude of gratitude. One way I decided to use my gift of each day was to put a smile on someone’s face. A smile can brighten up someone else’s day. A smile costs nothing and its impact can be far reaching. I choose to make good use of my gift. After all, who wants to throw cash away?