“If you really want to brighten someone’s day, do the unexpected. The effect could last a lifetime.”
It brought to mind my recent experience.
Why anyone would intentionally pick a summer holiday weekend to travel from Ontario, Canada into New York State. by land is beyond me. The lineups can keep you waiting for hours and test Job. Yet that’s exactly where I found myself this past July 1st.
I had a short errand to run and invited my sister who lives in Niagara to accompany me. We could go early and get back before the lineups were too bad I convinced her. Besides, living a couple of hours apart, we don’t get to spend a lot of time together so the car time would be a good time to catch up.
Crossing the Rainbow Bridge into Niagara Falls, NY was no problem. One errand turned into a series of stops and we were there longer than expected. Just long enough to bake in a bottleneck of cars vying for the only two open toll booths, frayed emotions radiating through tightly closed windows. Not that it mattered. The lineup to get through customs was even slower.
And so the kindness and kibitzing with a stranger who let me in was a welcome gesture. That made me first to the toll booth, and spontaneously inspired to pay his way. It was fun for my sister and I, and although he was lost in the sea of cars and we never saw him again, I’m sure the unexpected gesture made him smile. The attendant probably got a kick out of it too.
By giving, we were actually receiving the best gift of all.