THE KINDNESS OF OTHERS Yesterday I went grocery shopping and bought some fresh fruit and veggies and a few other essentials, but when I got to the check-out, the clerk said I was $4 short of paying for everything. I told her to take out a few items so I had enough to pay for the rest. I was unloading the groceries I paid for in the trunk of my car in the parking lot when a young Hispanic woman came up to me and gave me a twenty dollar bill. She said she hoped that would be enough for me to buy the groceries I had to leave behind. It was more than enough! I was so touched by her generosity, I thanked her and told her how sweet that was. Then I went back to the store and paid for the groceries I had left behind. She was a total stranger, but must have been in the check-out line behind me and saw my problem. It made me think that maybe we TMSWikiers could share our experiences about the kindness of others to us, whether family, friend, or stranger. That reminded me of something that I read about a few years ago... A young woman from the South named Nelle wanted to become a published writer but earned her living as an airlines reservations clerk in Manhattan. Her closest friends invited her to Christmas Eve dinner with them and their two little boys. After spending a warm family Christmas evening with them, the next morning she watched as the boys unwrapped presents of toys and played with them on the living room floor. Nelle and her friends had agreed on giving inexpensive gifts to each other, but after they opened the small presents she had given them, she couldn’t help but become disappointed they had not given her anything. Then the young wife and mother said they hadn’t forgotten her and she should look on the Christmas tree. There, Nelle found an envelope addressed to her. She opened it and found a check and a note that read: “You have one year off from your job to write whatever you please. Merry Christmas.” Nelle could not believe the generous gift and refused it, knowing her friends were not that financially well off. But they insisted, saying it was their way of proving their faith in her as a writer. She didn’t even have to sell anything she would write that year. It was just that she could spend the year writing. Nelle said it was a great risk they were taking. But her friends replied that it was no risk at all. It was a sure thing. What Nelle Harper Lee wrote with that Christmas gift was the novel To Kill a Mockingbird which became a best-seller in 1960 and won her the Pulitzer Prize for literature. Her father Amasa Coleman, who had served in the Alabama State Legislature during the 1930s, was the role model for Atticus Finch, the lawyer-hero of her acclaimed novel against racial prejudice. In the movie based upon the book, Gregory Peck won a best actor Academy Award playing Atticus. In 2003, a public poll voted Peck’s portrayal of Harper Lee’s father as their favorite characterization of an American hero. What favor did someone do for you? Their gift, whether tangible or “just” friendship or love, when you remember it, can make you feel so good about yourself, that someone cared so much about you. Or, you may have done a favor for someone else, and it made you feel good. We need to think of all kinds of ways that make us feel good about ourselves and others. It can relieve a lot of TMS pain. Do you have some thoughts to share on this?