We all have Facebook “friends”, those people who we knew back in our childhood but who took totally different paths in life. You know, the ones we would never talk to if it weren’t for Facebook, whose feeds and posts we read with a slight cringe. Yeah, we all have them. And yet, I’m sure we all also have at least one or two of the others, the real Facebook friends. At first they may seem the same, just another person from our past, but then there is a connection. We become interested in their lives and care about them. We look forward to seeing what they are doing, what they are thinking. This week’s smile is about something that recently happened to one of my friends, a friend who I just happened to reconnect with on Facebook.
A little background first. I have known her since grade school. We were never great friends, but I always liked her. We took totally different paths through school so after graduation I barely gave her a second thought until many years later when we bumped into each other on Facebook. There was something about her so she instantly became a real Facebook friend, or, actually, I should just say we became friends again. Her life wasn’t always easy and she isn’t rich by any stretch, but I admire that she faces the world with optimism, humor and The Beatles. She writes nice posts about things she does, like hiking or watching sporting events, about her family and about life in general. There is none of the complaining, ranting and scapegoating that the “friends” I mentioned in the first paragraph seem to do. I look forward to her posts. A few years ago tragedy struck, the worst imaginable, but more recently so did happiness: she was remarried last year.
A couple of weeks ago she and her husband decided to spurge and go out for breakfast with her daughter (a super talented kid). Just after dropping their check off, the waitress came back and took it away again. She was new and had apologized a few times for little mistakes. They assumed she had forgotten something and picked it up to correct it. After a while the waitress came back and told them they were all set, their breakfast was already paid for. The table behind them had paid for their breakfast. They turned around to thank the kind strangers, but they had already gone.
I have no idea what troubles this family has or doesn’t have. As I said, my friend’s Facebook posts are positive. I have no idea what was said at their table or even if it was anything more than small talk. I don’t know what the other table overheard, if anything. I do know that my friend deserves any act of kindness thrown her way, that she’s more deserving than most people I know. Even if, unknown to me, her new husband was really fabulously wealthy and they could afford breakfast out every day, I would still say that, just because of the person she is. And in ways, relative wealth doesn’t matter. You see, it is the act of kindness more than the money spent that, in the long run, is important. Perhaps those few dollars made a big difference in my friend’s family’s lives, I don’t know, but in a year they’ll remember the kind people at the restaurant much more than they’ll think about the money. The generosity lives on in their hearts, not their wallets. And the kindness spreads beyond that, multiplying in a way that money just can’t achieve.
It is good to know that there are people out there like that, those who commit random acts of kindness. When I read it, at first I was just happy for my friend and her family. But then I thought about it and I saw something more. There were ripples spreading out. My friend shared it on Facebook and made a lot of people’s day. I mean, we read such horrid stories in the news, isn’t it great to read something like this? It is to me. So that little act of kindness spread through her Facebook community. And now it’s spreading through this Smile, for now you know about it too. Dozens, perhaps hundreds of people will share in it. All of these people will have a warm spot in their hearts over it and may do something a little nicer just because of it.
How big can a little generosity be? Huge! Throw your little pebble of kindness into the pond of humanity. You might not see the ripples spread out, but they are there!
-Note- I did ask my friend if I could use her story. She didn’t ask me not to use her name, but I figured it was best to keep her anonymous. If any of our mutual friends are reading I’m sure they know who I’m talking about.
That’s my smile for this week, a little act of generosity, a random act of kindness.
If you haven’t seen it, here is a little background to The Weekly Smile as well as some quick guidelines.
So, what made you smile this week? Write about it and post on the link-up (or click the little blue frog below). While you’re there, read what everyone else is smiling about! And come back to it later, if last week is any indication new smiles will be added daily!