I went to the dollar store in Largo, mall today. It's a large store that sells refrigerated items, household items, and all holiday decor for only $1 for all items.
I went there with my family. I don't know why we were there, I forget. My wife wanted to find things for breakfast - milk, cereal, etc), and the kids wanted to get something for their Aunt and Uncle.
It was unusually busy and the lines were longer than I'd seen them in a while. People were holding one or two things and getting very disgruntled about the whole situation. It was only increased by the fact that there is a bus stop right outside, and the bus was getting closer and closer to being there.
I wandered around the store, specifically the books. (It is amazing the awesome books you can find in a dollar store. Check it out.) I walked to the front of the store and realized something just had to change.
I keep thank you cards in my car (Note: This is an idea I suggest every single person to take up. A real thank you card [you can get a pack in a dollar store for $1.] Yes, a real thank you card. When you see someone do something awesome, or they did something for you that they really didn't have to...you can walk out to your car and quickly write out a thank you card to them. This does so so much!!!! 1st, it makes them feel like they are valued...but also that someone has taken a moment to think of them enough to actually give them a card. A card is amazing thing...I promise.) So I took a few out, and wrote a generic thank you like: Thank you for being so nice to people. Even if it's not true, it will motivate people to be more like the card they received. I then gave it to people walking out of the dollar store.
Each of the 5 people looked at the envelope, opened the card, smiled, and asked why I gave them the card. I explained that I believe everyone should be thanked for doing the good things they do. They then asked me how I knew they had done anything great or were nice to people. I took the Anne Frank approach: I truly believe that all people in this world are inherently good, some are just educated into a more violent pattern than others, but all in all all people are good. I truly believe that.
Then they smiled, chuckled or giggled, and walked away a little taller and a little happier. Hopefully with a renewed sense of the people in this world. But this didn't help the store.
So, I walked into the store. Walked up to the 1st cashier I came to and explained:
"I'd like to pay for the next $10-15 you ring up on your cash register."
First she asked me to explain myself. Second, she asked me to repeat myself. Third, she laughed and giggled...and told me she was ok with it.
So, I spun the little card slider towards me and she started ringing up the next guest.
He looked at me with a questioning look. Especially since I was now standing almost shoulder to shoulder with him. The young lady rang him up and I slid my card, she told him to have a nice day. He was baffled. He asked what he owed and I explained that I just paid his $2.15. He smiled, gigled, shook my hand and said a hearty and amazed thank you. He stood up tall and mumbled Wow under his breath, and walked out with as spring in his step.
2nd guest.....older woman
She watched as her items were scanned in and carefully wrapped. She instructed the young lady how she liked her bowls wrapped. I slid my card, and the young woman said thank you. The woman handed over a $5 bill. The cahsier explained that I had paid for it. But the woman was persistant. I touched her on the shoudler and explained that I had paid her $3.30. She asked why...and I told her it was the right thing to do. I wished her a happy day and a hope of happiness in her future...she gave me a big hug, and walked away with a smile.
3rd guest...young woman and 2 kids..7 and 9 (both genders)
The items started fly past the checker. The kids were each holding a happy birthday balloon. Someone must be going to a birthday. All sorts of items were being piled into the bags. The kids asked their mother why I was standing there. They asked what I was doing. They asked who I was. I swiped my card and paid her $10.37 bill. The young lady explained I paid and the woman looked at me and asked why, then asked why in a more thankful way. I explained that it was my pleasure. She sighed and her mouth dropped slightly. She said thank you and so did her kids, and she was amazed that this had happened. When I explained that this is how we are all suppose to be, she smiled and said...yes it is.
This experience was amazing. I spent about $16...and renewed people's view of human kind,. Inspired them to do something amazing for someone. Created a teachable moment and a memory that won't soon be forgotten...of the strange gentleman that showed up in the dollar store and gave thank you cards and paid bills.
We all have the ability to do this. Every one of us...no matter how much money we have, how much we can truly afford in time, strength, and money. But we can all do something to help others...and become teachers to everyone who sees, hears of it, and listens
Chad Herman - motivatingforpositivechange.wordpress.com