It was the Saturday before Christmas, and you could feel the excitement in the air. The tree was up with beautiful angels nestled upon its bows. A new quilted skirt of snowmen had been placed around the bottom of the trunk covering the stand. Brilliant strands of twinkling white lights were aglow. Bing Crosby singing White Christmas was playing on the radio.
I’d just taken my last batch of shortbread cookies out of the oven to cool, when my youngest son came bounding down the stairs. Full of pride and anticipation he commenced to tell me he had finished his chores, and would like his allowance. He had worked hard and diligently that week in order to earn some extra money for Christmas shopping. After handing him twenty dollars he asked if I would have the time to drive him to Beaver Lumber today, as he had one gift left to buy, that was for his father. He wanted to get him something special that he could use at work, and had a specific item in mind. I had a few items that I needed to pick up that day and told him to go and get his brothers and we would head to the store.
My three sons and I piled into car to venture out on this busy shopping day. Snow was falling heavily causing traffic to move along slowly. When we arrived at our destination my youngest son wanted to go into the store alone, and made this quite clear to us. He was determined to pick out the gift for his father, without help from his brothers or myself. The parking lot was busy so I told him to be careful and watch out for cars.
The three of us sat waiting for Garth to make his purchase and return to the car. The snow was starting to get pretty heavy, and I still needed to make a few stops before going home. Forty-five minutes had passed and everyone’s patience was wearing thin. I asked one of my twins to go into the store to see what was taking so long, while I dusted the snow off the car.
Getting back into the car and starting it to warm up, Matt and I see both boys coming out of the store. In his hand, Garth is toting a huge yellow bucket, and has a very big smile on his face. “Mom, Mom,” Garth says with excitement. “You’re not going to believe what just happened in the store.”
“You sure look happy, what happened, and what have you got there?” I asked him.
“I wasn’t sure if I was going to have enough money to pay for this really cool work bucket and tool belt that I got for Dad, so I took the stuff up to the cash register lineup to check. It turned out that I was ten dollars short. There was this man who got his stuff ahead of me, and as he was leaving he heard the cashier tell me that I was short by ten dollars.”
Garth’s brother Allan interrupts, “I thought Garth was going to start crying when the cashier told him he was short ten dollars. Garth starts telling the cashier that it’s a gift for his Dad. The man ahead of Garth hands him a ten dollar bill, says Merry Christmas son, I am sure your dad will love this gift. Then he leaves the store.”
Garth jumps back into the conversation. “Mom, I told the man that it was alright and tried to hand him his money back, but he said he wouldn't take it. I said thank you to him as he walked away. Wasn’t that so nice of him, it really surprised me. He didn't even know me!”
I had Garth and Allan look around as we were driving out of the parking lot to see if they could see this kind and generous man, but he was nowhere in sight.
This was an act of kindness that Garth and the rest of my family will always remember.
© 2011 Susan Zutautas