Kindness Karma on a Hot Summer Day
--by pattyjw59, posted Jan 23, 2008
It is so often true that "what goes around, comes around," and that life lessons often walk in through the most unexpected doors.
One hot summer, several years ago, my son and I were taking a trip by train. But first we had to take a bus into the city to the station to catch the train. I was a single Mom and as usual, since times were hard and money was very tight, we simply could not afford any extras. So we packed a large lunch bag of snacks and sandwiches, and had a small cooler filled with sodas to get us through the trip.
We were still many miles from the train station, out in the middle of nowhere, when the bus suddenly completely broke down. The poor driver was mortified, and after calling ahead to the station, assured us, apologizing over and over, that they were sending another bus to rescue us.
We were allowed to get off the bus and stand outside, as it was very hot inside the bus, and, of course, the air conditioning did not work unless the bus did. Several of the passengers on the bus were elderly people, and as we waited and waited in the summer heat, it was starting to get to some of them, and I became concerned.
I told my son, "Let's hand out some of these sodas and sandwiches." "But what will we eat later?" he asked. I smiled and assured him, "No worries, God will take care of us one way or another." The other passengers, especially the seniors, were so grateful to get the cold sodas and sandwiches that it sure made us feel good that we could help! Even my son just beamed with happiness at the gratitude of the seniors, who told him he was “just the sweetest little gentleman!”
Later, when we finally arrived at the station, I was dismayed to discover that we had missed the train and had to wait until the following day to catch the next one. The other passengers were equally upset, and many were flat-out pitching a fit. The harried woman at the ticket counter was handing out discount vouchers for meals to some of them, and I asked if we could have one also. "No," she snapped. “Please just go sit down over there and wait a minute.” I was a little taken aback by that, but said nothing and went and sat by my son. "Mom, what are we going to do?" he asked worriedly. "Spend the night here, I guess, honey and take the train tomorrow," I said. But I was uneasy; we had given away most of our food, and being a woman and young son alone in a creepy train depot all night didn't sound real comforting either. We didn’t have the money for a motel room, and in any case, I didn’t know where the closest one was anyway. I certainly wasn’t about to go wandering the streets at night in a strange city with my son in tow.
Suddenly the woman at the ticket counter abruptly called to us, "Hey, you two, come over here!" Startled, my son and I exchanged glances. "Mom, did we do something wrong?" he whispered. I shrugged and we walked to the counter. "The bus driver told us what you did," she said. At my blank look she added, "Handing out food and cold drinks; that was really nice of you." "Oh, well we just wanted to help," I said. "Thank you," she said, somewhat more kindly. "We want to help you back. We are sending you both to a hotel for the night. Here is some money for the taxi to get there, and back here again tomorrow morning, and some extra money for dinner tonight and breakfast tomorrow."
Needless to say, we were floored! We thanked her for her kindness and she smiled tiredly. “No problem,” she said. “We appreciate what you did for the other passengers. Most people would have only thought of themselves. It’s nice to know there are still good people out there. Working here I often only see the worst side of people; tired, complaining and rude. You two have a good night. I’m finally off work and I’m going home. I called you a cab; it should be here shortly.”
We thanked her again and told her goodnight, and sure enough a moment later the taxi arrived. I figured that the motel would probably be one of the cheaper ones near the station, and that was fine with me as long as we didn’t have to spend the night alone in the train depot. But when we pulled up to the hotel my jaw dropped open and my son said “Wow! Look at that!” It was a gorgeous, brightly lit hotel, the kind of hotel that my son and I could never have dreamed of staying in at the time. We had a blast! We got checked in and went for a swim in the pool before grabbing dinner at the 24-hour restaurant next door. We slept like babies in the big, soft beds and had a huge breakfast the next morning before heading back to the station.
As we finally boarded the train to continue our trip, my son grinned and said to me, “Gee, Mom, that was so cool, like a mini-vacation! See, it does pay to be nice!” I laughed and said, “Yes, but you don’t be nice because you might get something back in return. You be nice because it’s the thing to do.” “I know, Mom,” he said. “But still, that sure was fun!” Yes it was, but more importantly, it was also a wonderful lesson in kindness for my son ... and for me as well.