When You Give A Man A Cupcake...

On one typically busy afternoon, I picked my two boys up from a class, my daughter was with me.  My son entered the car and handed his sister a cupcake.  Another kid brought them in and he took one extra for his sister.  That was nice.  J was appreciative, but didn't want the extra sugar so she just held onto it until we
stopped at a red light before the highway entrance where she spotted a ragged looking man holding a cardboard sign with the words "Will work for food" scribbled in black marker.  She handed the cupcake to me and said "give to him."  I said "A cupcake isn't going to help him."  She shrugged,  "Maybe it'll brighten his day, and that could help."   J was right.  I lowered the window and held out the small confection.  The man accepted the treat as I watched him pull into a wide grin that his whole face wore. That dusty, tooth missing smile was on of the most precious, genuine smiles I'd seen and as he thanked us and bid us a hearty "God Bless" the light turned green and off I drove. Glancing in the rear-view mirror I saw him gingerly peel the paper back and take a bite; the tattered cardboard under his arm, happily focused on the small gift. I smiled too. We all did.  And I realized that that small act, which  may have seemed insignificant, wasn't -to him, or to us.        

Every little thing matters.  Everything causes something.  And this isn't a new revelation, it's something that we know, but do we embrace it?  Do we actively apply it?  Do we live it?

That cupcake did not have monetary value, but it was useful indeed!  Maybe he felt just good enough to pick up litter, prompting the owner of the gas station to offer him $50 to clean the lot?  Who knows?  What if it made him just glad enough to smile at the right time, affecting another someone's day and altering an otherwise negative trajectory.  It altered mine! I was having a rather crumby day until then and the dose of gladness turned out to be just the elixir to change that.  Did J do it for me?  No, and not for herself  or  her brothers, but we benefited from that act just like the man.   And whats more,  I don't believe it was the cake itself, lacking in any nutritional value, that mattered; it was the gesture.

Is it selfish that I allowed myself to benefit from a small act meant for another?  I don't think so. Kindness is for everyone.  Every opportunity you have is valuable.  Every conversation, verbal or no verbal, matters in some way. You control whether it's going to be a positive vibe or not.

Want to have a nice day?  Be Nice. It really is that simple.

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