On Friday, I went to Meijer. I don’t usually shop there, but I had a gift that I needed to return. Armed with store credit, I searched the store for a few things I needed. As I walked through the store, I grabbed a paper towel holder as an impulse buy and Valentine’s for my son’s class. I picked up the few things I could remember from my grocery list (that was on the refrigerator at home) and started to head up to the registers.

As I got up to the registers, a new line opened up. As I got in line, a woman in her 50’s loudly asked from the end of the aisle, “Is this a short line?” The cashier told her that no, she would take any amount of items. She got in line behind me. I turned to face the register and watched my items being scanned. This woman then got very close to me and peeked at the screen to see my total. My first reaction was to find her a little rude and nosy. I even stepped a little away from her. Then this woman asked me if I needed my receipt. I wrinkled up my forehead trying to process why she was asking me this. I told her yes. She asked me again and again a third time. I told her yes each time. She asked if the receipt was for me. Of course. Not knowing why she wanted my receipt, I told her yes again. She then said she was giving me a blessing. If I didn’t need my receipt, I should just walk away. She was paying for my purchases.

I was stunned. Here I was thinking she was rude and instead she was performing a random act of kindness. I was shocked and touched at the same time. My shocked reaction asked her “Why would you do this?” She told me, “When you receive a blessing, you don’t ask why.” I had to smile at that simple answer. I should have known better. I then touched her sleeve and told her, “I hope this comes back to you in ten fold.” She just smiled and waved me off. Before I left, I thanked her for her kindness and for giving me a story to share.

I thought back to other blessings I have received in my life. When I 19, my car got a flat tire. I pulled over and was going to call my fiance or my dad to help me. Instead, another man pulled up behind me and offered to change it. I tried to pay him, but he said he was doing it because he hopes someone would help his sister or mom if they ever get stuck. When my boyfriend (now husband) and I were at dinner at prom in high school, an anonymous couple put money toward our dinner. We never knew who they were. Many times at the grocery store, with only a few things in my cart, I have had someone offer for me to go ahead of them. Over the holidays, a kind stranger bought my coffee at Starbucks. In the days before iPass, strangers have paid my toll at the toll booth. All of these people were strangers – kind strangers.

This woman’s generosity has inspired me to pay it forward. I’m not going to blog about it – I think a random act of kindness should only be told by the person who receives it. I hope as you read this, you find the inspiration to do something nice for a stranger.

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