Passed Down


While checking out at the grocery store last week, I noticed that the lovely cashier seemed low and a bit out of sorts. I asked her how she was doing, to which she replied, “I had a very rough commute this morning.” I sensed that that wasn’t the whole story but continued to place my groceries on the conveyer belt while we engaged in small talk. She paused when she scanned one of the bottles of spring water and professed how much she loved the brand and how it made her feel. Isuggested that she try to take some breaks throughout the day and perhaps get a bottle to drink herself. She nodded her head, but I could tell she didn’t think it was a realistic option.

I paid for my groceries, slipped my hand into one of the bags, pulled out a bottle of spring water, and handed it to her. Her entire being lit up. She held the bottle close to her chest and asked, “Really? For me? Are you sure?” “Yes, of course, I am sure,” I replied, “but please just do me one favor: when you are feeling more like your beautiful self, would you kindly pay this forward?" The biggest smile spread across her face as she nodded her head yes.

My intent for sharing this tale is not to show off my deed but, rather, to highlight that I was taught to do this. It has been passed down to me. I witnessed my parents’ random acts of kindness, especially to the underserved, long before such actions came in vogue. I recently learned that my father helped pay the grocery bill of a woman behind him in line, and she ended up doing the same for the woman behind her!

In my parenting, I have witnessed that what I do is often more important than what I say. Let us commit to showing our children how to go first, take care of the other person, and keep our words and actions congruent. That way we can be proud of what we are passing down, and the world will begin to right itself.