Lessons are often taught to us in a way we least expect them or don't expect them at all. Those profound moments happen when we least expect them.
My son and I were having a visit in a coffee shop one day. We were deep in conversation about life and the challenges we face sometimes. Out of the corner of my eye I watched a man ask nearly everyone in the coffee shop if they had some change they could spare. They all had the same answer -- if any at all.
He looked at us and decided not to ask. With his head hung down he started for the door. I couldn't help myself, I felt compelled. Without saying anything to my son I got up out of my seat and approached this man and asked him, "Sir are you hungry?" His answer was simply, "yes." We walked to the counter and didn't notice anyone else in the coffee shop. We stood together and looked at all of the delicious menu items for a full five minutes to place his order. I invited him to order anything he wanted. He ordered a healthy muffin and a black coffee and hung his head solemnly. The gentleman picked up his order and looked at me with a smile in his eyes. He thanked me as he walked out the door. I felt normal, no different than I had five minutes earlier, except for that I forgotten where I had left off in the conversation with my son!
As I was returning to the table, the story I made up in my mind was that my son we would disappointed. We hadn't spent much time together and I knew it was my time he wanted. Here I had walked off in the middle of our conversation. He sat quietly for a moment as I resumed sipping on my cold coffee. My 22-year-old son looked up at me and said, "Mom, you are the nicest person I know."
Before he said those eight words I hadn't realized what I had done or the potentially positive effect it could have on the person who mattered the most to me in that coffee shop. After he said them, I felt complete, like everything in the world was perfectly how it should be. It made my day and it made my heart happy that my son has the emotional intelligence to notice something as important as that moment.
I was reminded of three very important lessons that day:
1. The stories we make up in our head are merely stories, much different than intuition, and it is up to us to manage those stories we write.
2. Always do the right thing, not just for you or the person you are doing it for but for the eyes of those you don't know that are watching.
3. Take the time, and no matter what you have in your bank account do the right thing. Your reward will be that much greater than the money or time you would have saved by not doing it.