shared that my grandfather had been a school caretaker.
I thanked her on behalf of all the customers who shop in the store where she works. The store is always very clean; something that is very hard to do at this time of year!
I learned that today was a momentous day for her. She’s been holding down two jobs to make ends meet. Her family doesn’t have a car, internet access, cable, or a home phone. They use the bus or walk for transportation. Their money is used to pay for necessities. The woman has been on antibiotics for the last two months due to an abscessed tooth. She’s been saving money to go to the dentist. She recently learned that she’s being laid off from one of her jobs. She wanted to give her children a decent Christmas for the first time in
a long time, and chose to spend the money she’s been saving for her teeth on her son and daughter. Her children told her to take care of her teeth, that they didn’t mind going without gifts this Christmas.
The woman then told me how she regularly takes her morning break in the food court, where she often sits with an elderly couple. For the last year and a half they’ve been spending 15 minutes a day
together, four days a week. This morning when she shared the latest news in her life, they offered to help her with her teeth. She said no thank you, because she had no way to pay them back. She told them her teeth could wait until after Christmas and her children’s birthdays. They told her to take care of herself so that she could take care of her kids, which made her cry. Still she said no thank you. Finally the man took her by the arm and brought her to the dental clinic in the mall, where they made an appointment for this Friday to have her teeth checked and X-rays taken. The man pre-paid the
appointment and plans on being there on Friday to pay for any further work that needs to be done.
The woman had tears in her eyes as she shared how grateful she was for this kindness from relative strangers. She wanted to know how she could pay them back, other than with $20 here and there over the next few months as money is available. I asked for and received permission to share her story. I gave her my card, so that she and her friends could read this story on Facebook or on my blog.
I’m sharing this story of how an act of kindness can have a deep impact on someone truly in need, to inspire others to be grateful for all that they have. I also encourage everyone to do what they can, no matter how small an act or donation, to help brighten other people’s lives. If you’re interested in making a financial contribution at the local level check out organizations such as christmassharing.org/about.htm. If you’d rather do something for families across Canada or in the developing world, check out www.worldvision.ca.