A few months ago I was having a hot dog at one of my favorite places to have hot dogs. No, it wasn’t Fenway Park. It was a local shop. I was sitting there and there was a 9 or 10 year-old sitting near me. Apparently the schools were closed that day. She had two or three books and had her nose in them reading. Her father, the store manager, was nearby. Clearly, while it wasn’t the perfect location to be reading, he decided that it was best to have her nearby and supervised rather than at home alone.
I asked her, “Do you enjoy reading?” She said, “I love to read.”
I let her continue and thought – This girl has a loving parent who cares about his little girl and this girl is doing the right thing. Then, I decided, in a world with so many kids making wrong decisions, here are a parent and child choosing a better way and I want to help.
So I reached into my pocket to see how much cash I had; I found I had $25. Then I turned to the girl, handed it to her, and said, before releasing the cash, “Promise me you will use this gift to buy and enjoy more books.” She did promise and I let her have the money. She was stunned and confused but very happy. I then went to her dad, who saw what I had done, and said to him, “I am so impressed with your daughter and you and simply wanted to do something to encourage her to excel.” He was also so grateful. Then I left.
When I reached my car, I said to myself, “What the heck did I just do?” I have never done anything like that before. Then I paused and realized I was inspired by Grace. There could not be any other reason.
A few weeks later, on the hunt for my favorite tube steak, I went back. The girl was there again and her dad recognized me. He was so happy. He told me about how good a student she was and how she went to a nearby used book store and was able to purchase a number of books she had been looking at previously and hoping to read. She talked about what happened for days. He was so grateful and proud of his little girl. So what did I do? I reached into my pocket and pulled out another $25. This time I gave him my email address and asked him to let me know what she bought and how she is doing in school. As long as she buys books and does well in school, I will send her $25 periodically. He couldn’t believe it. Nor could I.
I am still trying to get my head around this entire “thing”, but I am thinking too much about it. I know it was Grace that inspired me and I am so grateful I let it take control. The experience is joyful, and I learned a lesson: Giving is about seeing not only us in others, but seeing God in each other.