Thursday, April 30, 2009

One Good Turn Deserves Another

April 30, 2009

The other day I wrote that seeing a teenager doing something nice for someone else was one of the things that makes me happy. Today, my son was the recipient of exactly this brand of kindness. He wasn't exactly a teenager by my estimation, but probably in his early twenties. It still had the same effect.

Nicholas has always loved to hold the door open for others entering a building behind him. Whether it be a man, a woman, a family member, or a complete stranger, he'll hold the door open to let them enter first. Well, today I had all the kids in a shopping center, and we were trying to take care of several errands there. On the corner of the center is a gas station/mini-mart, and I told the kids we could stop in there and grab a drink and a quick snack before we headed home. Since our car was parked at the other end of the center, the girls and I walked back to the van to drive it over to the gas station, but Nicholas said he'd just meet us there. He's beginning to assert his independence, so he wanted to go it alone, and I let him, of course first admonishing him to watch for all the crazy drivers in the parking lot.

We pulled up to the gas station a couple of minutes later, and Nicholas was on his way out of the store, big bottle of Mountain Dew in his hand. I quickly tried to usher him back in the store, since I didn't want the clerk to think he was trying to steal it. Obviously, since I had just gotten there, I hadn't paid for it yet, and I knew Nicholas didn't have any money with him. As I was saying all of this to him and guiding him back in the store, a young man passed us on his way out. Nicholas pointed at him and said, "But he already paid for it!" Confused, I looked at the young man Nicholas was pointing at. He turned to me and said, "It's true. I bought your son's soda for him." He pointed at Nicholas. "That young man held the door for me when I walked in. He was polite, he was respectful. That's a good boy you have there. You're bringing him up right. So I thought it would be nice to pay for his soda. Have a nice day!" Like lots of 12 year old boys, sometimes Nicholas struggles with making good choices, and sometimes he's too impulsive and reactionary, and it can get him into trouble. But today, Nicholas was beaming, and he stood up tall and proud.

Okay, so I know it's silly, but that kind of thing brings a tear to my eye, even writing about it now. Of course, I love to hear positive things about my kids; it does them (and me) a world of good. But also, to have a kid that age go out of his way to acknowledge and even reward that kind of behavior? Well, he didn't have to do it, but I'm glad he did. It shows me once again that in a world of cynicism and pessimism, I am not wrong to continue to believe in and look for the good and kindhearted spirit in others.


  1. That is an awesome story!

  2. What a great story!! There's lots of nice people out there - it sucks that they are overshadowed by all the jerks.

    I also love it when I see acts of kindness.