Stories of Kindness from Around the World

Swift Reaction At a Circus


--by afriendlysmile, posted Jul 25, 2007
Once when I was a teenager,  my father and I were standing in line to buy tickets for the circus.  Finally, there was only one family between us and the ticket counter.  This family made a big impression on me.  There were eight children, all probably under the age of 12.  You could tell they didn't have a lot of money.  Their clothes were not expensive, but they were clean.  The children were well-behaved, all of them standing in line, two-by-two behind their parents, holding hands.  They were excitedly jabbering about the clowns, elephants and other acts they would see that night.  One could sense they had never been to the circus before.  It promised to be a highlight of their young lives.

The father and mother were at the head of the pack standing proud as could be.  The mother was holding her husband's hand, looking up at him as if to say, "You're my knight in shining armor."  He was smiling and basking in pride, looking at her as if to reply, "You got that right."

The ticket lady asked the father how many tickets he wanted.  He proudly responded, "Please let me buy eight children's tickets and two adult tickets so I can take my family to the circus."

The ticket lady quoted the price.

The man's wife let go of his hand, her head dropped. the man's lip began to quiver.  The father leaned a little closer and asked, "How much did you say?"

The ticket lady again quoted the price.

The man didn't have enough money.

How was he supposed to turn and tell his eight kids that he didn't have enough money to take them to the circus?

Seeing what was going on, my dad put his hand into his pocket, pulled out a $20 bill and dropped it on the ground.  (We were not wealthy in any sense of the word!) My father reached down, picked up the bill, tapped the man on the shoulder and said, "Excuse me, sir, this fell out of your pocket."

The man knew what was going on.  He wasn't begging for a handout but certainly appreciated the help in a desperate, heartbreaking, embarrassing situation.  He looked straight into my dad's eyes, took my dad's hand in both of his, squeezed tightly onto the $20 bill, and with his lip quivering and a tear streaming down his cheek, he replied, "Thank you, thank you, sir.  This really means a lot to me and my family."

My father and I went back to our car and drove home.  We didn't go to the circus that night, but we didn't go without.    

I think this story reminds us that we have to act fast and not to let the opportunity slip by us.

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Readers Comments

sanjiban wrote: touched my heart
Zanobuhle wrote: your daddy's reaction made me realise how little it takes to make a difference in a person's life. Who knows what impact his action made on that family.
lb wrote: Thank you for that story you've brought a tear to my eye also.
yasheshworah wrote: How ordained it was that the father and son sacrificed the show in favour of more approtiate viewers.perhaps they would have long forgotten the acrobatics but now they earned a lifelong memory of a story they wrote and performed,much to the joy and the inspiration of growing no of the viewers
speedi wrote: What a wonderful act of love and compassion
Thank you for sharing;;Bless you
DEARI wrote: I AM SO BLESSED BY YOUR STORY AND IT REMINDS ME THAT I SHOULD NOT HOLD BACK TO ANY THAT NEEDS MY KINDNESS DIRECTLY OR INDIRECTLY. YOUR FATHER IS MY HERO FOR THE DAY COS HE MADE A LASTING IMPACT ON YOU BY THAT SINGULAR ACT OF KINDNESS AND OFCOURSE TO ME. THANKS FOR SHARING YOUR STORY.
AlbanyKate wrote: This is a great story. Sometimes, as a broke college student, I feel so helpless knowing I don't really have the funds to help people and causes out. This reminds me that it doesn't hurt to sacrifice little things for others every now and then; after all, its a win win situation when you help someone out. They become happy and you're happy for having helped.
smittyswife wrote: Your story brought tears to my eyes. It's a very touching story.
Lorrine wrote: This was so beautiful. It makes me hope that I would respond in such a way, if I was faced with a situation like that.
mcdo11 wrote: What a wonderful moment of God's love.

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