By Donna Mischke, Director of Family Services
“Time always exposes what you mean to someone.” – Unknown Author, The Minds Journal.
“Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on earth.” – Muhammad Ali
It’s the most wonderful time of the year, but it’s also the most stressful and crazy time. Every Christmas, I am reminded of a story about a woman named Angie. It was two days before Christmas and Angie still had a list of many errands to run. She was stressed. She still had gifts to buy for her three kids and a menu to plan for her extended family coming into town. She left her house early in the morning and swung by a local drive-thru to pick up some breakfast. When she got to the window to pay, the cashier told her that the car in front of her had picked up the tab for her breakfast. In a true pay it forward movement, Angie decided she would do the same for the car behind her. She paid for his order and drove towards her first stop. She remembered pulling out of the parking lot and hearing someone blow their horn but thought nothing about it as she battled the busy traffic.
Once she arrived at the department store parking lot, she began eating her breakfast and going over her long “to do” list. She was upset and frustrated that she had left so much to do in such a short period of time. She hadn’t noticed that a truck had pulled into the parking lot in front of her. She was startled when she looked up and saw an older man walking towards her car. He knocked on her window and stood there. Angie looked at the truck and wondered if this was the same man behind her in the drive-thru. She was alarmed that he had followed her. She was not exactly sure what to do but cracked her window slightly and asked if she could help him. The man asked her why she had paid for his breakfast earlier. Angie explained that she was just trying to be nice and pay forward what the other person in the line had done for her. She was feeling a little on edge and not sure what this man’s intentions were when she noticed his eyes tearing up. He began to tell her how that was the nicest thing that anyone had done for him in a very long time. He explained to her how he and his wife used to visit that drive-thru once a year right before Christmas. They only came to this side of town to visit a specialty candy store. He told Angie how his wife would always say “Let’s run by the drive-thru and I will buy you a couple of biscuits before we shop.”
Angie no longer felt threatened by the stranger and invited him to sit inside her warm car and eat his breakfast. They sat there talking and enjoying their breakfast for about 30 minutes. The man told her about how he hadn’t been back to that drive-thru or the candy store since his wife passed away two years ago. He had not wanted to go this time, but his son was flying into town and the grandkids had asked for some of the special Christmas candy. When the cashier at the drive-thru said that the car in front of him had purchased his breakfast, his heart was filled with the love and joy he had missed so much since his wife had passed away. He knew he had to track Angie down and thank her for her kind act. He told Angie that her kindness had changed his whole perspective about the holidays and for the first time since his wife had passed, he was really looking forward to spending Christmas with his family. Angie said she could have sat and talked with this gentleman for hours, but snowflakes started falling from the sky and they both decided they’d better get their shopping done. As they parted ways, the man called Angie an angel and they hugged as if they had known each other for years. As the man walked back to his truck, he commented that, “it’s as cold as a frosted frog out here!” This phrase caused Angie to pause as she was walking into the store. She turned and waved goodbye to the man who had warmed her heart that day. As he drove off in his truck, she described a feeling of warmth and peace that she hadn’t felt in decades. She recalled having only heard the phrase, “it’s as cold as a frosted frog out here” from one other person in her life. It was something her grandfather would say when she was a child. Angie was very close to her grandfather and missed him dearly. Angie said she believed she stood outside for several minutes in the cold snow, but felt nothing but warmth before finally going into the store.
Angie finished up her shopping with great ease in about an hour and said that everything just fell perfectly into place. She thought she would be shopping all day. Angie never saw the man again, but will never forget the way they both felt that day.
I love this story because it does indeed confirm that doing something so small and simple can truly change another person’s whole outlook. I am honored and blessed to be surrounded by a company and co-workers who do this daily. Concierge Care Advisors employees go above and beyond to help our seniors in the community. I feel extremely fortunate to work for a company that really cares.
Real generosity is doing something nice for someone who will never find out.– Frank A. Clark
I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.– Maya Angelou