Although I had promised myself that things would be different this year, I found myself standing at UPS with packages to ship with less than an hour before the cost would rise substantially if I wanted them to arrive before Christmas. As you might imagine, the store was packed. To my right was a woman filling out the paperwork to ship a package to her daughter who is stationed in the Middle East for the United States Air Force. She mentioned it quietly but the person behind the counter repeated some of the information to verify accuracy, and another worker got involved while trying to expedite things.
Because the worker was also trying to take care of my three packages while helping the mother of our service member, there were several short periods where I needed to wait. Actually, I’m glad I did.
The man to my left was shipping something large, but finished his transaction quickly. Before he left, he handed money to the clerk and gestured that it was to help pay the cost of the shipping to the Middle East. Then he quietly left. He said nothing directly to the mother.
I was still waiting when the mother was given the total cost for her shipping, then the clerk advised her of the man’s generosity and deducted his gift from her total and shared with her the man’s statement of gratitude for her daughter’s service to our country. She cried. The sales clerk cried. I got a bit misty myself.
It is easy to bemoan the lack of civility and caring in society today but that would be a mistake. It is still there. I’m now challenged that if I’m not seeing it in others, I need to act it out myself. I know that the rest of that day I was just a little happier, a little nicer, and a little more hopeful.