The most amazing thing happened to me today. No, I didn’t get engaged or win the lottery. Something much better than that took place. I left work at 3 pm and started to drive to the gym. I really wasn’t feeling too well. I had a terrible, throbbing headache that made me feel a little dizzy. I think I was just feeling tired and overwhelmed, but, whatever the case, the headache convinced me that I probably needed to take a break. So, instead of going directly to the gym like I normally do after work every day, I decided to go to the local McDonalds, get a cup of tea, put my feet up, read my book, and allow myself at least a half hour of relaxation.
Fifteen minutes later, my plan had gone into effect. I had a cool cup of iced tea on the table, my book opened in front of me, and my body slouched down in a booth at the back of the restaurant. Thankfully, no one else was around. It was quiet and peaceful and I was able to concentrate on my reading. I felt my whole body relax as I started to take deep breaths. I was beginning to feel a little better, but my head continued to pound.
I had only been hunkered down in the booth for about fifteen minutes when a group of young girls suddenly walked into my tiny private oasis The four girls appeared to be about thirteen-years-old. They were dressed in colorful tank tops and cotton shorts. Each of the girls had her red or blond hair pulled back into a ponytail. Well-worn baseball caps were perched on the top of their heads.
Of course, being young kids, they were prone to running, yelling, and laughing hysterically over nothing at all. The girls giggled innocently whenever boys’ names were mentioned and they shrieked with excitement as they pushed and tickled each other. It was a little difficult to tune the girls out. They were sitting in a large booth directly across the aisle from me. Surprisingly, though, all of the noise didn’t bother me. I guess I was so relaxed that the clamor didn’t really disturb me.
But instead of staying focused on my book, my mind drifted back to something that had happened a few months ago. Again, I had been relaxing with my book at McDonald’s when two young boys came into the restaurant. The boys were loud! They screamed and yelled and cursed each other rudely. I had to literally bite my tongue not to respond. I was especially irritated when one of the boys kept purposely sliding across the floor making a loud screech sound that sent my nerves jangling. I tried to overlook it but the “tennis-shoe screeching” was impossible to ignore. I started to pack up my books and get ready to leave even though I had only been at the restaurant for twenty minutes. But suddenly I came to a sliding stop before I had scooched all the way off the bench of the booth. I was brought to stunned silence as one of the boys began to sing. His voice was deep and rich and absolutely beautiful as he sang the words to a gospel hymn. I don’t know what had inspired the boy to start singing out loud, but I found myself smiling and taking long deep breaths. Then I settled back into the booth, opened my book again and completely relaxed as the boy continued to sing. Once he finished the song, he smiled brilliantly and the two boys left the restaurant. They left me in peace and feeling calmer and more inspired than I had been a few minutes before.
So now, I took a deep breath as the young girls laughed and played around me. Suddenly, one of the girls got up from the table and walked towards me. I watched her out of the corner of my eye as she approached my booth. I started to panic for a moment as I began to wonder how much cash I had on me. I thought at first she was going to ask me for money or that she and her friends were selling Girl Scout cookies and wanted me to buy a box. I couldn’t think of any other reason why this young girl would suddenly be standing directly in front of me. I remained sitting in the booth as the girl stared down at me. I slowly pulled my eyes away from my book and looked up at her. Then the girl smiled brightly at me and said, “Hi. How are you feeling today? Are you having a good afternoon?”
“Yes,” I said, shocked by her politeness. “I’m having a really good afternoon.
“Good,” the girl answered, “I just wanted to check.” And then she turned and walked away.
“Thank you,” I called after her. I was completely touched by the girl’s kind gesture. “That was so sweet of you.”
The girl just turned and smiled at me before joining her friends at the table where the girls again behaved exactly like thirteen-year-olds normally do. I continued though to wonder at the girl’s behavior. Why would a young girl out with her friends even bother with an “old” woman like me? I had just been sitting there reading my book. I couldn’t imagine what had ever inspired the girl to talk to me. But it didn’t really matter. My headache was gone! And I couldn’t stop smiling as I turned my attention back to my book and sipped my iced tea.
Twenty minutes later, I decided I was ready to go to the gym. I got up from my table and walked over to trashcan which was next to the young girls’ table. “Have a good afternoon,” I said to them as I threw away my cup. “Bye! Bye!” the girls started screaming in their excited, high-pitched voices. I turned around and walked across the restaurant to the door. I stepped outside and thought about those young girls as I walked to my car. I said a silent prayer that God would bless and keep the girls safe. I thought about what the future held for those girls who probably didn’t know yet that they were experiencing some of the best moments of their lives right now. They were young and silly and happy…and that’s what I hoped life continued to offer to them.
I got in my car, started it up, and backed out of my parking space. I drove towards the exit but came to a sudden stop when I saw the young girls skipping across the parking lot. I stopped to let them safely walk to the grassy area on the other side of the lot. Suddenly, one of the girls looked at me and smiled. She shouted “Bye” at me as she enthusiastically waved her hand towards me. This movement got the attention of the other girls as they all now excitedly waved to me and called out good-byes. I waved back as tears stung my eyes. Such beautiful young girls…I prayed once more for their protection as they walked across the grass towards the houses on the other side of the street.
So, see, something wonderful happened to me today. Four young girls were kind to this “old” woman and it made my head and my heart feel so much better. This is another moment in my life that I will hold on to and bury like treasure deep inside my soul. For even though I have had so many momentous occasions in my life, it is these random acts of kindness that create my most precious memories. And the fact that this moment was created by thirteen-year-old girls gives me great hope that the world will continue to experience kindness in the midst of so much chaos. There are angels still on this earth…I meet four giggly, happy, silly ones today!