I have to admit, this random act of kindness movement is pretty cool — especially when it happens to you.
A few weeks ago, Evan and I went to Cleveland to visit my sister and my nephews after Christmas.
Shorty also tagged along for his first-ever road trip beyond the Urbana tractor parts store and lumber yard.
Evan rode shotgun. He’s always been a good traveler if it’s a long car trip or a day at the airport. He just likes looking out the window in between reading a book or playing a video game.
The trip to Avon Lake is only three hours, but I decided the city of Findlay would be a good stopping point for my travelers.
Random Findlay fact: Findlay had the distinction of being the only community in the world where touch-tone telephone service was available on Nov. 1, 1960.
This fun Findlay fact only lasted for three months.
(Kids these days: What’s a touch tone phone?)
We chose friendly Findlay as our stop to fuel up, let Shorty stretch his tiny legs and grab a bite to eat before hitting the turnpike. I don’t know what it is about the Ohio Turnpike, but I can’t make myself stop at the service areas. They are too crowded and hectic and overall confining. No one ever brags about a great turnpike stop.
I observed a parking lot at Findlay High School (also home to the Trojans) to stop to give Shorty a quick walk before grabbing a bite to eat. It was at this high school where the first random act of kindness occurred.
This school must have been hosting some kind of event with cheerleaders that morning. My observant 11-year-old quickly volunteered to walk the dog in the grassy area in the school parking lot. He was approached by some very friendly high school cheerleaders who couldn’t resist a little boy and his dog. In fact, one cheerleader was obviously in love with Shorty as she chatted with Evan for a minute or two while I waited in the car. I finally tapped on the window to let Evan know I was ready to go. Before Evan walked away, the little cheerleader gave Evan a small bag of candy she had in her pocket. Don’t ask him about it, he’ll be too embarrassed to talk about it.
Afterward, he mentioned that was really nice of the girl. I think I saw him blush.
Anyways, we managed to find the most crowded McDonalds off Interstate 75 in Flag City U.S.A. Rather than arguing with Evan to find a different place to grab lunch, we waited in line to order.
As I dug out my bank card to pay, the cheerful teenage cashier informed us that the vehicle in front of us had paid for our lunch.
The teenager also shared that this “random act of kindness” chain had lasted about an hour. The smile on her face was pretty contagious.
Who were we to break the chain of fun?
So we ponied up the bill for the van behind us.
Afterward, Evan was just in awe of how the whole process. I explained how someone had kindly paid for our lunch, so, in turn, we had paid for someone else.
I thought Evan had forgotten about this small, but very kind gesture until this week when we stopped to grab a late night bite to eat before he headed home.
“Hey! Let’s buy the people’s dinner behind us!” he said.
This came out of nowhere so I asked him why he wanted to do it or what inspired him to think of such a thing.
“Oh, I don’t know. It was pretty cool when someone did that for us.”
It was pretty cool, especially with an 11-year-old remember this event from a month ago.
So, I paid for our dinner and then paid for the person’s order behind us. It was such a small amount, but the smile on my son’s face was well worth the $6.
Evan giggled as we pulled away from the McDonalds. He turned around to watch the vehicle behind us pull up to the cashier. He quickly turned around like he was caught with his hand in the cookie jar.
With a big grin on his face, he said, “That was fun mama.”
Yes. Yes, that was fun.
“Twin” Melanie Yingst appears weekly in the Troy Daily News. Smiling is my favorite.