It was one of her most famous shows…”YOU get a car! And YOU get a car! And YOU get a car!” On her last “favorite things” episode, Oprah gave every single person in the audience a new car. I remember watching it when it aired and thinking how lucky those people were, how happy they must be. But what I should have thought about was Oprah…how much fun she probably had that day, what it would feel like to be able to do that…to make grown adults scream, cry and literally jump up and down out of joy.
Today I got a small taste of it. My checking account has a few less zeros than Ms. Winfrey’s, so my act of kindness was on a much smaller scale. However, I’d like to think it was no less wonderful.
It started with a simple purchase. I walked into Wal-Mart and bough 4 gift cards…and then I was ready for the fun to begin.
I walked down the aisles holding my daughter’s hand…looking at the shoppers…trying to find four who I wanted to help. I didn’t have to look for long. Within a few minutes, I met four very well deserving people.
Madeline had a great suggestion…she wanted to look at toys. So, to the toy aisles we went. And that’s when the first woman caught my eye. She was looking at bikes and I noticed she had scrubs on underneath her coat. Like I’ve said before, I have the highest respect and gratitude to those who work in the healthcare industry…so I knew this was someone that I wanted to surprise. I walked up to her and asked if she was a nurse. “No…well, not yet anyways. I’m still in school…just got out of class.” It felt AWESOME to hand this woman a gift card. I was a perfect stranger, but it didn’t matter…she wrapped her arms around me, hugging me as she said, “Thank you! Merry Christmas!”
Target #2 was right around the corner. A young mom with a crying baby in the infant seat sitting in the back of her cart and a toddler sitting up front talking her ears off and getting restless. It was as if I was looking in a mirror. I could relate to this woman. Seeing her look of absolute shock when I handed her the gift card was priceless…she didn’t know what to say at first…she couldn’t believe that someone was actually giving her money. We shared a quick joke about the life of a busy mom, she thanked me…and then I was on my way.
My next stop was the baby section. A very pregnant woman and her husband were looking at baby toys. Turns out that they’re expecting #4 in just a few weeks…their fourth boy. Talk about two people who deserve a surprise!
With just one gift card remaining, Madeline and I made it up to the front of the store. It was packed. People were everywhere and it was hard to move around. A woman was coming the other direction with her hands filled. Madeline and I stepped aside to let her pass. “Oh, no…you have a little one. Go ahead.” Instead, she stepped aside for us. It was a small gesture, but so appreciated. And it was fun to be able to thank her for her kindness. It pays to be kind…in this case, literally.
While Oprah gave those cars away to do something nice for the audience members, I guarantee she had just as much fun, if not more, giving them away. I know that’s exactly how I felt today.