Happy Valentine’s Day! This isn’t just a holiday for those who have a lover. This is a day for everyone who is loved by their families, by their friends, by most importantly by themselves.
This morning Annalise decided to get a heads start on Valentine’s Day and got up at 5am. I started to get up when Chris flew out of bed and grabbed an energy drink. He began making her a bottle and I became confused. I always take care of Annalise in the morning until I start working at 8am. He kissed me and told me “Happy Valentine’s Day! Go back to sleep, I have moved all your calls until after 11am. Sleep in!” What?! I was so excited to sleep in that I had butterflies and couldn’t instantly fall back asleep! Haha… At 9:30am I woke up to Chris making me an egg-white omelet and turkey bacon! (Hooray for healthy living) Best Valentine’s Day present ever. We had decided not to do anything this year since we are moving into a NEW HOUSE this weekend and we are crazy busy. Looks like I need to come up with a surprise for husband 😉
I am not one to share when Chris and I make anonymous donations, random acts of kindness or pay it forwards. We’ve been so blessed and any time we can do something for someone else, we try. I really felt compelled to share these two stories with you all but not for any sort of selfish attention or pats on the back. I feel like I have been blessed with a small corner of the internet where I can possibly uplift and encourage others. So here goes…
This past Saturday we packed “a few” bags for an overnight trip to Chris’s parents’ lake house. On the way we needed to stop and pick up something for his grandmother for her 87th birthday. We were popping in to have lunch with her before we drove out to the lake. We decided to pull off half way to Indy to hit a Krogers. Annalise was thankfully sleeping (she doesn’t like her car seat at all) so I jumped out and ran inside to purchase a card and an over-sized balloon as quickly as I could. When I came out, Chris said he needed to run inside for something so I got behind the wheel in case Annalise woke up I could drive around the parking lot to lull her back to sleep. As I was sitting there I noticed a the Kroger employee pushing carts in the freezing weather. He had to be in his late 70s or 80s. He was trembling in the cold with his mouth gaping to inhale the freezing air. As he grabbed another cart his dentures fell out of his mouth and hit the parking lot pavement. He slowly bent over to pick them up and look around him panicked to see if anyone was watching them put them back in his mouth. I started to tear up. That could be someone’s father or grandfather. Whatever tough circumstances he has had led him back to work pushing carts in the freezing cold. I began to think of my family members and how easily the economy could have placed any of us in a unfortunate circumstance. As he pushed as many carts as his frail frame could push he started to uncontrollably cough and tried to spit but it landed on the front of his Kroger coat.
Chris hopped into the car and I told him what I had saw and how that can easily be anyone in that situation. I then started to cry. Chris asked me if he should go in and talk to a manager about transferring his job to something in doors or see if there are other opportunities for him. We agreed someone like him should be at home, warm and enjoying retirement. We decided that talking to a manager probably wouldn’t do any real good and it really isn’t our place to talk about this man’s job. As I started to drive out of the parking lot Chris said to pull into a gas station and he was going to grab some cash out of the ATM. He asked me if $100 was okay to give this man. I didn’t hesitate to say yes. I had been budgeting hardcore with us moving into a house soon but I didn’t care what I needed to do, we both really felt compelled to give a little something to him.
We never have cash on us. Chris said it would be cool if we could wrap it in a $1 so he didn’t know how much was really there. Somehow, Chris found a dollar bill in his wallet. This NEVER happens. Meant to be? I spotted the man in the parking lot and hopped out of the car. I walked over to him as he waited for a man to upload his cart. He then grabbed the cart and said, “Ma’am do you need a cart? You can have this one right here!” I said, ” Nope, I just wanted to give you a tip. I really appreciate what you are doing in this freezing weather.” He put his hand on my shoulder and said, “Well, thank you!” I then handed him the folded money and said to have a great day.
I know that I don’t really know his situation or why he is working at his age. But I do know that Chris and I really felt like we could make a small difference in his life. I think not seeing his face when he opened up the folded cash was best. The feeling in my stomach didn’t go away but at least I felt like we did something small in that parking lot in Indiana.
During a church service when we were in Hawaii, the pastor introduced friends of his from California that had a son with a life threatening illness. The little baby boy was so tiny and they had two other children as well. I cried the entire church service. Their story really touched me and even though I wasn’t a mother yet, I really felt for that mother as she held her son so tight.
This particular Sunday was around my birthday in March and the exact time we started our business. I had quit my job and there was a week or so between my last pay check from the old job and when the checks from our new clients were to arrive. We had decided to not spend a dime between this transition. For those of you who have made the business owner leap you know it can be unpredictable. Chris’ parents had sent me a birthday card with a $5o bill and I had that in my wallet if we needed anything. We had credit cards to fall back on for emergencies but we don’t like to use them ever so I don’t count those. I guess you could say we had $50 on that particular day.
After church, Chris knew that the family’s story had really gotten to me. I felt a strong urge to give our last $50 to this family. We had prayed as a church to help them with their financial burden and even though we were at a new phase of our lives that effected our finances, I knew I had to do it. I wrote my cell number on a piece of paper and folded it around the $50. I found the family outside loading up their car. I can’t imagine what I looked like. I was trembling as I handed the mom the money and said that my number was on the paper if they needed anything while they were on the island, even if it was to babysit while the parents went out for a breather.
The family texted me once a month later to let me know that their son was going into surgery and to pray for him. I am not sure what happened to the family but I hope our small contribution helped them in the slightest.
Taking the leap of faith by starting our own business has been the best decision of our lives. We have been blessed in so many ways. Do I think our success has anything to do with giving away our last $50? I do. I truly believe God takes care of those who help take care of others.
I hope this Valentine’s Day isn’t just about how many roses your boyfriend sends or if your wife bought you a card. Take some time to spread some love with the people you come in contact with, even for a brief moment.