Tonight I had to run a quick errand to make a payment at a local store. When it was my turn to pay, the lady behind the counter indicated to me that there was going to be a $1.00 service fee. And of course, I had no cash on me whatsoever. My only option was to go across the street to an ATM machine.
All of the sudden, a woman walking by (not even in the line) pulled out a $5 dollar bill and handed it to the woman behind the counter and said, "I can take care of that."
Feelings of embarrassment, elation and relief - all at the same time filled my brain in just a matter of seconds. I hesitantly accepted her offer to help me out and was just blown away by this woman's kindness.
It was weird too, because suddenly the worth of that one dollar bill felt more like a hundred dollar bills - all because this woman did something that she was under absolutely no obligation to do.
Driving away from the store, I found myself asking how it's possible to make one dollar feel like a hundred.
Here's what I've come up with:
- Be Aware
If I'm going to be in the position to help someone out, I need to be aware of their needs. (Paying attention in generally a good way to be aware - although that isn't always easy for an A.D.D. guy like me.) Obviously, this woman was paying attention to my situation and decided to be solution minded - even though it cost her a buck.
I realized today how often I walk into a store or situation so focused on what I need to take care of that I can't even imagine how many opportunities I've missed out on to jump in and help someone out.
- Just do it.
If I'm in the position to help someone out who is in a bind, why not just do it?! Why do we spend so much time over analyzing? If you are a solution to someone's problem, why not help fix it?
- Teach it.
This is going to be Elise's bedtime story tonight. Why? Because I want her to be this kind of person. I want her to understand the value in helping people - even at her own expense. It's easy to open a door for someone. It's easy to help someone carry something heavy. But it's not always easy pulling out the $5 dollar bill.