The other day, I shared some stories from my readers about random acts of kindness and it really got me thinking. Being kind and putting someone else’s feelings above your own, especially those of someone you don’t know, takes a little extra effort. It might be inconvenient and it might mean making yourself a little uncomfortable, putting yourself out there where you otherwise wouldn’t do so. But it’s almost always worth the effort. One of the stories I received from my readers illustrates this perfectly. It was a little longer than the others so I saved it to share separately. It touched me deeply.
Vicki learned a lesson in kindness at a young age, when her father took her into their small town on Thanksgiving Day. All the aunts and uncles, the whole extended family, were gathered at her house for the festivities, but her father had an important errand. He went to town common, where a homeless man name Pete lived with his dog under the bandstand. Vicki’s town was very small, and everyone knew Pete and typically avoided him. But on that day, Vicki’s father invited Pete to share their Thanksgiving meal.
Pete had been through World War II and had suffered serious shell shock. He felt uncomfortable around most people, preferring the company of his dog. He tried to decline Vicki’s dad’s offer, but eventually he agreed, as long as he was allowed to eat in the kitchen and not in the big crowd of Vicki’s family. So home they went with Pete, much to the consternation of several of Vicki’s aunts and uncles.
While the rest of the family ate in the dining room, Pete, Vicki and her father enjoyed their meal in the kitchen. Vicki recalls this as the best Thanksgiving ever, laughing and talking with Pete, hearing his stories. And afterward, when they dropped Pete back at the bandstand, there were tears in his eyes. Vicki’s father also set up an account at the local eatery for Pete, so that whenever he needed a hot meal or a cup of coffee, he could go there.
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