An Appreciated Kindness
As you know, I flew to Dallas Monday morning and returned late this afternoon. Believe me, after more than 60 trips there in the last 5 years, I pretty much have the schedule down to a science. I take the same flights each month, usually departing from gate B9 in Indianapolis. Yaba, the shoeshine guy who has a stand next to the gate, always waves to me and, undoubtedly, I drop by and get a shine for whatever pair of shoes I happen to be wearing. Then, I walk to a store across from the gate and get a Coke Zero from a local shop that sells stuff from Indiana. I pay the $2.45, including tax, head back to the gate and wait to board.
The reason that I buy the drink is that sometimes the flights are full and the flight attendants don’t get all the way through the cabin with refreshments. Also, DFW only sells Pepsi products and frankly, they’re not my first choice. So I always make sure that I have Coke with me. Yesterday, since I was upgraded to first class, I never even opened my case for the drink until I arrived in Dallas and headed to the car for my ride to the office.
Other than once or twice in the last 5 years when flights have been seriously delayed, the routine hasn’t varied. Until yesterday…… That’s because after I paid for the soft drink, I collected my change and walked out of the store, without my drink. I didn’t realize it at the time – in fact, as I said, I didn’t notice until I arrived in Dallas. I was a little annoyed with myself, but hey, it was only $2.45 and not the end of the world.
This afternoon, I was once again upgraded and had a terrific ride back to Indy. Sure enough, like always, we arrived at B9 and deplaned. I went across the concourse, stopped in the same store to buy a Coke for the ride home, and happened to mention that I felt a little stupid because yesterday I walked out without the drink. Without hesitation, the clerk behind the counter gave me another drink and refused to take my money!
Now I didn’t ask for a freebie – I was the one who forgot the purchase. But there was no hesitation, and certainly, the store wasn’t obligated to me in any way. Pure and simple, it was an act of kindness – much appreciated but never expected. And you know what – it affirms that my decision to trade in that store was well founded. You can be sure that I will keep shopping there.
The story reminds me of a Bible story. Paul, recounting his landing in Malta, tells of a similar situation he encountered upon his arrival. Tonight’s short verse is from Acts 28:2, “The islanders showed us unusual kindness. They built a fire and welcomed us all because it was raining and cold.”
Notice that the verse clearly indicates that the people of Malta were under no obligation to be kind to Paul. They just were. And we may never know the reason for their decision to be kind. Nonetheless, there it was – recorded in the Bible for all posterity. Kind of like today – no obligation, just kindness… Now the Bible story goes further. In fact, after Paul gathered logs for the fire, he was bitten by a poisonous snake, but he didn’t suffer any ill effects from the bite. The islanders, in fact, thought he was a god. But enough about that, because that’s not what Paul wanted to focus on – he knew that there is only one God – three in one; Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
My encouragement this evening it to make sure that you show a little kindness to people you encounter in your everyday events. And my prayer is that you will remember that Christ expects us to show kindness to everyone – not just Christians, even though admittedly that can be a little tough to do. Because you never know when that little act of kindness may make a difference in somebody’s life – just like today at the airport. Grace and peace…