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Holiday Generosity

It took place during the holiday season, anyway. 🙂

One time, about 20 years ago, I took both my children on an outing to a science museum that is about a 30 minute drive and a $5 bridge toll away. We packed a lunch, and since we were all young and struggling, I had only brought enough money to pay the museum admission price. Unbeknownst to me, the museum had upgraded its parking lot to a paid lot since I had been there the year before. As I ruminated over what to do at the fee box, my son asked why we weren’t going in. I explained that we were short the money for parking, and that we might have to leave. A complete stranger, overhearing my dilemma, walked over and paid the fee for me (I believe it was $5-6). I was ever so grateful, and embarrassed, and vowed to help other people in the same way. My son remembers the incident and he also still pays it forward to this day. 1007-15

{ 24 comments… add one }
  • Dominic December 21, 2017, 7:42 am

    This is the kind of wonderful thing that occasionally happens and bumps up one’s faith that people are basically good and kind, and it doesn’t even have to be around the holidays.

    To continue the sharing, I’ll tell the story of our most recent trip abroad. We rented a car at the airport and had brought some cash (Euros) with us, but hadn’t had an opportunity to get any smaller denominations in coin. At our first stop to visit a castle, we encountered a paid parking lot but had no coin to get in. We pulled off to the side, and I went in search of someone to get change from. Instead, a nice gentleman came up and paid for us and helped us get through the gate. He apparently didn’t have enough to change my bill, but he was kind enough to just give us the five-Euro coin and help out some slightly confused foreigners.

  • Emily December 21, 2017, 8:02 am

    Reminds me of when I was a kid. The brother and I walked to a florist to buy roses for our mum, but being pretty young (I could not have been more than 8, and my bro is younger) we had no clue how much they cost! We were very short of cash, but a gentleman in the store overheard our conversation and paid for the flowers for us. It’s so wonderful to hear about people like this in the world.

  • gmc December 21, 2017, 8:41 am

    That’s a great holiday story. It also taught your son an valuable lesson, and I’m glad to hear that he is carrying it forward, too!

    Have a Happy Holiday!

  • Michelle December 21, 2017, 8:49 am

    There are still a few good samaritans out there!

  • staceyizme December 21, 2017, 9:06 am

    Such a sweet story and such a beautiful reminder that small things can make a big difference!

  • Wild Irish Rose December 21, 2017, 9:48 am

    Hooray for Holiday Heroes!

  • viviennebzb December 21, 2017, 10:12 am

    I love the lasting impression one tiny act of kindness can create. Sweet story.

  • Melissa December 21, 2017, 10:34 am

    What I love most about this is that OP’s son was paying attention, and continues to pay it forward 20 years later. A friend of mine recently bought a meal for someone who was in need, and while that was great and generous of her, the best thing was that her young son took notice. Instilling kindness and generosity in the next generation, by showing a good example, is a wonderful thing.

  • JD December 21, 2017, 10:34 am

    What a great thing to do! OP, thank you that you and your son pay it forward as well.

  • Miriam December 21, 2017, 10:47 am

    That is so lovely! I’m really glad your son took away the “let’s pay it forward” message – he’s a credit to your child-rearing.

  • Dawn December 21, 2017, 11:26 am


  • Princess Buttercup December 21, 2017, 11:29 am

    That’s awesome. Love when someone is in the right place at the right time to do something “small” that has a big impact.

  • lakey December 21, 2017, 12:24 pm

    I had a similar experience. I had two different purses. If I decided to use the second one I would transfer my stuff from the first purse to the second. Well, I went to a movie for a matinee. When I got up to the ticket seller and ordered the ticket, I found out I had not put my wallet in the purse, so no money. I told the ticket seller that I would go home for my wallet and attend the next showing of the movie. The theater manager came over and comped me the ticket.

    • at work December 21, 2017, 9:05 pm

      A theater manager was kind to me, too. When I was 12 I lost my summer movie pass. The manager heard me tell the ticket taker about it and the manager wrote a note and all I had to do was show the note to get into the theater the rest of the summer. I bless him.

  • pickles December 21, 2017, 1:20 pm

    Thank you for sharing your story! Just shows we may never know how our acts of kindness keep growing.

  • Dee December 21, 2017, 1:22 pm

    That’s a nice story to offset all the ones of holiday greed. Although I don’t think it’s a good idea to not have extra in the wallet for emergencies, and I hope the OP and her son always prepare for that now, it’s good to hear when strangers step forward to help others in need. I think the media are so quick to point out the boors and jerks in our society that we forget about the majority of really good people around us. Thank you for this.

    • Ergala December 23, 2017, 8:04 pm

      I’m a single mother and I work in the medical field. You would think I would be comfortable financially…guess what…after daycare and bills and dealing with a new scary health issue, I don’t have an extra $5. This year Christmas will be after payday for my two children and I. It is what it is. Not everyone has extra money to carry around for emergencies. However I do what I can for others and we absolutely help people whenever we are granted the opportunity. Whether it be by giving a sandwich and drink or if I DO have an extra $1 giving that instead of splurging on a cup of coffee at the gas station.

      • Lanes December 26, 2017, 2:43 am

        People who haven’t lived hand-to-mouth don’t often understand what it’s like. I grew up in a hand-to-mouth household where dinner was sometimes just a biscuit and tea. Emergency money just didn’t exist.

    • iwadasn December 30, 2017, 5:10 pm

      If you can always have extra emergency money in your wallet, count your blessings. Not everyone is so lucky, especially single parents.

  • Girlie December 22, 2017, 8:01 am

    I love these stories!

    One year, when I was a young, broke college student working a dead-end part-time job, I ventured into a local shop where they had some beautiful Christmas figurines and dĂ©cor on display. I was admiring one little ornament in particular when a total stranger came up beside me and started chatting with me before moving on to another part of the store. Honestly, it was such a casual conversation that I don’t even know what we talked about. I suppose she must have asked me about the little ornaments I was looking at, because a few minutes later, she came back with that ornament in a little bag with the receipt and told me that she wanted me to have it, and Merry Christmas.

    I’d never seen the woman before, and I’ve never seen her since, but her random act of generosity and kindness to my young heart is the reason why I randomly tip bagboys large amounts, why I sometimes will cover the car behind me in a drive-thru, and why I rejoice in finding little, seemingly meaningless, little ways to make someone feel cared for.

    I thank God for good people. They really do make the world a better place.

  • Just4Kicks December 22, 2017, 9:57 am

    We vacation at the Jersey Shore every year, and there is a toll bridge over into Cape May that you have to pay a one dollar toll.
    We always pay for the person behind us, its a little something we do ever since my husband and I were dating.
    Once, when it was only 50 cents, and we had all four of our kids with us, we paid for the car behind us and went on our merry way.
    At the next light, a young girl in a beat up car honked and yelled over “Hey…did you guys pay the toll for me?!?”
    I said yes we did.
    She said “I am a college student and work two jobs to pay my tuition….that was the nicest thing anyone has done for me in a long time!!! Thank you all so much, and enjoy your vacation!!!”
    With a honk and a wave to the kids she pulled away with a big smile.
    One of my kids said “WOW! 50 cents made her THAT happy!!!”
    My two oldest sometimes hop to the shore with friends for a long weekend and they both said that they remember that girl and always pay for the car behind them, keeping our little tradition going for another generation.

  • Just4Kicks December 22, 2017, 10:00 am

    …and to the original poster, what a nice thing to do!!!
    Its easy to forget these days there are still good people out there. 🙂

  • NostalgicGal December 22, 2017, 10:46 am

    I lived in a big urban and a block from my house was a semi-major street with 15 restaurants within a mile… and three at end of block across street. I was in one, the chain fast food, and a boy of about 9 with his younger brother about 4, were there and the older was trying to deal with buying lunch for the two of them. He wanted to buy stuff off the dollar menu but with the tax was a quarter short. I pulled a quarter and handed to the older boy with “It’s nice to see you taking such good care of your brother.” He told me thank you, and the two joined the line then to order their food. I took mine to go but was rewarded to see the two sitting and having an animated discussion about something. (no they weren’t homeless, just lived around there somewhere and the older was truly minding his younger brother like a lot of parents could only wish…)

  • Just4Kicks December 23, 2017, 2:18 am

    Aw, that’s a very nice thing you did, and what a good brother!!!

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