Black Friday I was at Wal-Mart.
Standing outside (by the ashtray, no less).
Ringing a bell while people put change in my red kettle.
I had a wonderful day.
Normally, I’m not a very social person. I am much more comfortable sitting in silence than making small talk. But from 10 am to noon, the sun was shining and it was unseasonably warm The customers were friendly and generous. Of course there were the people who walked around so they didn’t have to go by the kettle, but for the most part everyone offered at least a smile. Some dug deep and tried to shove their dollars through that incredibly small opening in the kettle. Some handed their change to their children, who dropped it in coin by coin. A few people even thanked me for standing out there.
In a world like ours, we often forget how much we need this compassion in our lives. Whether on the giving or receiving end. It’s so important to think of others in the world and do what’s in our capacity to try to enrich their lives a little. There are so many ways to help others - whether poor, sick, disabled, elderly, disadvantaged - whatever. We all have the ability and the means if we’re selfless enough to arrange it.
We are so tight with cash this year, all I had to offer was my time. I often complain that I “don’t have time” for exercise - or really anything else that’s beneficial to me. Somehow I managed to ‘fit in’ this and a few other activities this winter. I guess there’s just something special about it that I’m willing to use my vacation days to participate.
If you ever get the opportunity to do this - DO IT. It’s not hard to sign up, and it really doesn’t take that much time out of your day. A couple hours of smiling at customers and thanking those who were able to donate. That’s all it takes to collect hundreds of dollars to help the needy.
It’s such a wonderful tradition to start. This year my younger sister met me up there and helped me out for a while. Next year I think I’ll start bringing my own kids.
I hope everyone had as great of a holiday as mine. If not, I hope there will at least be some good “crazy relative” stories to read.