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The Greatest Gift of All

A few years back, I had spent weeks trying to figure out what to get my friend for her birthday, but nothing was coming to mind. Until one day I came across an ad for a soon-to be released blockbuster starring her all-time favourite actor. I knew this was it! Feeling adventurous, I decided to take a chance and entered the ticket lottery for the premiere at our local theatre. As luck would have it, two days later I received an email saying we had been selected for the premiere night!

 

As part of her birthday gift, I decided I would treat her to dinner before the show. With it being a celebration, we decided to spare no expense and ordered to our hearts’ content. Showtime was nearing so we asked our waitress for the bill, but to our surprise, with a smile on her face, she said, “You’re all set, no bill for you ladies today. Someone has already paid for your meal!”

 

Confused, we looked at her and questioned if she had the right table. She insisted that everything was taken care of and that we were good to go. We began to glance around the restaurant to see if someone we knew happened to be there and picked up the tab –  no one to be seen. My friend called her husband to see if he had maybe contacted the restaurant to pay – he swore it wasn’t him. We asked the waitress again if she could tell us who it was, but the most she would share was that it was someone in the restaurant and that they wanted to remain anonymous.

 

We couldn’t believe what had just happened – a stranger, not seeking recognition or thanks, treated us to an extravagant dinner. He or she will never know that the gratitude and joy we felt that evening was palpable. Inspired by this generous Act of Kindness, we vowed to pay it forward. We asked our waitress for a meal to go (this time paying ourselves), and brought it to a homeless man on our way to the show. His reaction brought even more warmth to our already glowing hearts.

 

To this day, we don’t know who it was. But my friend and I still talk about how that night has stayed with us as a reminder of what being on the receiving and giving ends of Kindness feels like. What started with me searching for the perfect gift for a friend ended with both of us receiving the greatest gift of all, a sincere Act of Kindness and generosity.

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Doing Acts Of Kindness For 10 Days Will Take You a Long Way
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A Little Kindness Goes a Long Way

As for many of us, one of the hardest things about the pandemic for me too has been the physical distance from my close ones. Unfortunately, I am not referring to the all-too-familiar 6 feet/2 meters, but rather 5,000 miles/8,000 km, as most of my friends and family live in Europe. While being so far away from them in such a tumultuous year was at times challenging, it also led to some special moments of connection which I will cherish forever.

When still living in Europe, one of my closest friends who I have known since high school had made it a tradition to gift me a subscription to my (and her) favourite magazine every year for my birthday. I had always loved this kind and thoughtful gesture. Every time I received a new issue in the mail, I felt her close and would send her a funny picture of me reading it. When packing before my move across the world I remember going through the stack of magazines and thinking how much I will miss our monthly tradition. Since I didn’t want the magazines to get stranded at my old address after my departure, I asked my friend to cancel the subscription when I visited her before my flight. We didn’t say goodbye but rather “see you soon”, as I already had my first visit to Europe planned for later that year.

Well, things didn’t go quite as planned. Shortly after arriving in North America, the pandemic started and cancelled all travel plans for the foreseeable future. Despite quickly finding new fun ways to connect with friends and family at home, the physical distance remained. Then one day when I went to pick up the mail I found a large envelope with a very familiar handwriting on it in the mailbox. I opened it and held a kind note from my friend and the newest edition of my favourite magazine in my hands. It turned out that she hadn’t cancelled the subscription, but rather had asked for it to be redirected to her house. As the publisher doesn’t deliver to North America, she took care of it herself. I was touched by her kind gesture which was only the first of many as she didn’t let me miss one issue since then.

 

The pandemic will pass, but I will never forget these Acts of Kindness of my friend that made the distance between us seem so much shorter.

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Doing Acts Of Kindness For 10 Days Will Take You a Long Way