We went out to dinner tonight with my parents to celebrate my wife's birthday belatedly (thanks, 2016 Blizzard). Our meal had just really started, when over came a woman in a University of Maryland hooded sweatshirt.
"Hi," she started meekly, knowing it was awkward to just walk right up to someone in a place like a restaurant.
"I'm doing random acts of kindness today, and while I can't pay for your whole meal, this can help."
She left a $5 bill, smiled meekly and left. Sttapled to the cash was a bit of an explanation.
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This woman was honoring a man named Randy Childs, who died in July 2012 at the age of 35 after an 11-month battle with a rare, aggressive form of cancer. At the time, he and his wife's daughter, Haven, was just 6 months old. The family was overwhelmed by the support and love they were shown throughout Randy's fight, including from so many people they didn't know. Although Randy passed away, the family felt so good about humanity and the goodness and comfort it can offer in the hardest and darkest times.
So they wanted to pay it back each year on his birthday in a day they've dubbed Randy Acts of Kindness. Since Randy would have been 39 today, the family was doing 39 random acts of kindness around town. Even better? This was the first time Haven could come along and be a part of something that not only honors her father but also is an ongoing way of thanking the people who helped them when they needed it most. Better still? A small army of people signed on to help as well.
We didn't have a conversation with the woman; she was gone as fast as she could put the $5 on our table. All we could say was "thank you," somewhat shocked that a stranger came up to us and did something that nice.
When the meal was over, we passed along that $5 as extra tip for our waitress.
Sometimes people surprise you in the most wonderful way.
Here's to all of the people who made someone's day brighter in honor of Randy Childs, and here's hoping we can all stop to think of how to make someone else's day better each and every day.