Stories of Kindness from Around the World

A Bag of Chips Changes My Son


--by dgrav, posted Sep 14, 2010

Performing acts of kindness seems to have been a theme in my life for a long time.  I started when I was a little girl, when I wrote a poem about friendship to a neighborhood lady who always seemed to be in a sour mood and was especially unfriendly to the neighbhorhood children.

When I had children of my own, I continued to do acts of kindness in their presence, so that they might learn by example.  Sometimes they participated, and sometimes they just observed.  Afterwards, each time we would talk about it and it always brightened my day immensely.

One day not too long ago, my son and I were in line at the Dollar store buying an assortment of products.  In a line next to ours, a woman was waiting to make her purchases.  She had a few necessities and one bag of chips.  

She stepped up to register to make her purchase and said, "I'm sorry.  I need to put the chips back.  I can't afford them today."  I sensed her disappointment and embarrassment.  Having gone through tough times myself, I knew very well that sometimes the smallest indulgence is enough to lift one's spirits.

The cashier set the chips aside.  I knew immediately that I would buy them for the woman, however, I was in another line and waiting to check out, so I was concerned about how I could make it happen. 

The woman completed her purchase and began to leave the store.  It was finally my turn to check out.  I quickly explained to the cashier that I wanted to buy the chips for the lady who had set them aside.  Clearly, there was not enough time to complete my whole purchase, so I asked the cashier if my son could please run the chips outside to the lady, even though I was still checking out.

The cashier hesitated for just a second.  Then she looked me right in the eye and said, "I didn't think people still did things like that for anybody else."  She handed me the chips and I quickly handed them off to my son, who knew exactly what he needed to do.

Now, you probably know that a 13 year old boy is sometimes most concerned about, "being cool," but my son didn't stop to think about this.  He ran out of the store to find the lady.  A moment later he returned, helped me load our bags and we left the store.

It was his time to share with me.  He said that he found the lady walking down the outside corridor.  He said to her, "my mom wanted you to have these chips."  He told me that her eyes filled with tears, that she was stunned that someone had noticed her abandoned bag of chips.  She promised him that when she had an extra dollar, she would pass the act of kindness on to someone else.

I remember thinking that that bag of chips from the Dollar store was worth so much more than just one dollar.

My son changed that day.  He shared my urgency with completing the act of kindness and in directly participating, he was deeply touched.  He grew up that day in so many ways.  My son took a huge step forward to becoming the kind of man who will see the needs around him and will answer the call when someone needs help.

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Readers Comments

thaata wrote: In india it is that the home is the first school and mother is the first teacher. You got a great gift on that day in your son by involving him directly in the kindness act. Watching a kind act is different from doing a kind act.
Stephanie wrote: What a great story about helping others! Gratitude dance!


Zhanglinghar, that would be nice if there were not people in europe and north america that are poor, but alas there are many poor people in those countries. Take care & have fun,
cristy acosta wrote: I have to agree with zhanglihgar i used to think that too
dr.bbalnarayana wrote: Mother is the foremost teacher of thy kids
Sowing seeds of compassion in them would grow and bear
Not only flowers, fruits, shelter, to the needy
But the shape of life differs a lot to adjust to the people surround
The one who is kind and helping is the true person to get
peacehunter wrote: I have one of these sons ,was always giving stuff away growing up lol i never said anything but. Good job son when he came home with no mittens or lunch box. Your story reminded me of how it is the small acts that make a huge difference. In a young persons shaping. Good job mom xo
moral12 wrote: What a great example you are for your children. Thanks for taking the time to share your story.
luv4all wrote: Children learn so much so quickly as their baggage is much less. I am so happy to know he changed that day for better. I plan to make some other kids do similar acts so that they learn kindness and grow as better human beings.
giddy wrote: This is just the kind of story that inspires a mother of two small children so that they may be active givers throughout life. Very touching and thank you so much for bringing all of us back to that exact moment what your son might have felt.
bookworm58 wrote: I have done this several times over the years and the people really appreciate such a small act of kindness. I have also had it done for me a few times too. Its a blessing to see people who care for others in this troubled times of the world. I will continue to do this small acts of kindness whenever i can.
MandysMom wrote: Oh a giant hug to you and your son! And you need to know that this brought a tear to my eye and yet a smile to my face and heart! You are right, the greatest kindness is often a very small thing - but what makes it huge is the timing and the fact that you paid attention to someone's need when they felt all alone. Thank you!

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