This past weekend my husband and I had a small garage sale more for fun than for making our fortune. There were more people than we expected coming and going during the course of the morning, but a little girl is the one that made an impression on me.

She was no more than five or six, I would think.  She had long straight black hair and dark eyes and was dressed very neatly in a skirt, a blouse, and a sweater.  The girl was accompanied by what looked to be her young mother and perhaps her aunt.  The two young ladies looked around while the girl stood quietly looking down at, but not touching,  some toys that I had thrown into a plastic box.

I had always enjoyed bubbles as a child and still do as an adult so I walked up to the girl and asked if she would like a bottle of bubbles from the box.  She looked at me shyly and then at her adult companions as if seeking their approval before she responded.  The lady that I took to be her mother shook her head ‘yes’. 

The girl stood on her toes and clapped her hands quietly together in delight.  She then reached into the box and selected a bright pink container, one of several containers of bubbles she could have chosen from.

Upon witnessing the animation in her expression and in her body language,  I couldn’t resist asking if she would like another in a different color.  She again shyly looked at the adults and received a nod of approval.  I handed her a bright orange container, and she became so excited that she actually squealed, although softly, with joy.

***

I have had at least two experiences myself when I was given something that was completely unexpected and that felt completely out of context.

One such time was when I was at the check stand in a Las Vegas Albertson’s store.  I was short a dime to pay for my groceries, and I was trying desperately to locate the change in my always overstuffed and never neat purse. The line behind me was growing while I was in pursuit of the dime. Without a word, the gentleman in front of me, whom I had hardly noticed in my frantic search, threw a twenty dollar bill on the counter and walked away. 

“Sir,” I yelled, but he picked up his pace and never looked back.

I didn’t even get the opportunity to see his face.

***

I experienced another act of kindness soon after my husband and I moved to Eagle, Idaho.  We had just been to the bank and I noticed that a young child’s clothing store adjacent to the bank was going out of business.  So, being  a person who can never pass up a bargain and in need of a gift, I entered the store in search of a quality shirt and pair of pants for my 3 year old grandson Tye.

I looked around and selected a matching shirt and pants in size 4 hoping that he would not have outgrown the size by the time Christmas arrived. Then my husband (who so wanted to leave because shopping is not one of his favorite ways to spend time) and I headed for the register. 

Behind the register was a young man and behind him was his young wife who looked well on her way to baby delivery time. I asked, because I have this bad habit of asking, why they were closing the store.  They explained that this was a new business for them and that the business had not been as profitable as they thought it might be. My husband and I expressed our regrets and wished them well. 

The gentleman behind the counter put the items in a bag and handed the bag over to me.  I made an attempt to hand him my debit card to pay for my purchase;  he refused to accept my card and wished me a good day. He smiled and said that the items were a gift from him and his wife to our grandson and that they hoped he would enjoy them.

Taken a bit by surprise and not knowing quite how to react,  I accepted the package and thanked them both for their kindness.

***

If I had been a spontaneous little girl, instead of the more cautious person I have become as an adult, I too, just like the child who visited our garage sale, would have stood on my toes, silently clapped my hands, and squealed in delight when I was presented with these two unexpected gifts from complete strangers.

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