It ain't pretty.
To add insult to injury, stuff keeps going wrong. All those Christmas pictures I was stressing out over? Lost 'em when I loaded them to my Mac because I had no memory left. Packages that were supposed to arrive days ago, still haven't shown up. Husbands that were supposed to get home at 6 PM get stuck in freak snowstorms and walk through the door at 9:45 PM. Workouts that are supposed to relieve stress are cut short by one 14 pound child who REALLY wants to eat and doesn't like bottles.
I'm not going to lie, I'm a kind of a train wreck.
And Wednesday was no exception. I have about 2 hours while the kids are in preschool to run errands, write, hit the gym, and pretend that I'm not slowly losing my mind due to sleep deprivation. This Wednesday I was stuck going to National Tire and Battery to get my car battery checked. Just what I felt like doing during my two hours of me time.
So I walk in with Ben who immediately poops his brains out and I'm told it's going to be a half hour before they can get to my car. I'm left with choosing between a stinky baby or a car that may or may not break down in 25 degree weather while I'm schlepping around 3 kids.
I opted for door #1. Stinky baby for the win.
I sat in there, bouncing the baby seat, half asleep in a hard plastic chair trying to pretend like my crying baby didn't stink to high heaven. I waited almost exactly 30 minutes till the nice man at the desk called my name.
I walked up there prepared for the worst. I probably needed a new alternator or at the very least a new battery. I definitely wasn't expecting to get out of there for less than $200. The guy patiently explained that it wasn't my battery that was failing, it was the radiator. Apparently it was low on some type of fluid so they added more and I was good to go. When I asked him how much I owed him, he just smiled and said there was no charge. Editorial note from Laura: this may or may not be a free service they offer to every customer. But I like the idea of a random act of kindness too. In fact, my first year teaching, I created a Random Act of Kindess Club. Yep...
I was sort of floored. I mean, when's the last time you had a complimentary service? Especially at a car repair shop. My shock must have shown because he laughed and told me to have a Merry Christmas. Now I'm sure replacing radiator fluid free of charge isn't a big deal, but it was the best news I'd had in a long time, so I decided to pay it forward.
My next stop was Target and my plan was simple. I'd buy a $15 gift card and hand it to the first person I saw who was walking in the door as I was walking out. As I was leaving the store I handed a random girl a $15 gift card and told her that someone did something nice for me that morning and I was paying it forward. She smiled so big that her face practically split in half and told me to have a blessed day. Editorial note from Laura: Lisa told me this story the day it happened and suggested we pay-it-forward. How terrible is it that I've been wracking my brain ever since and nothing seems good enough? The Hershey Kisses we used to leave on kids' desks when I was teaching is small-time.
It felt so good to do something randomly nice for a stranger and I'm sort of hoping that she was inspired to do something nice for someone else that day. Maybe the guy at the repair shop started a tiny little wave of good deeds that will spread some cheer this holiday season. Who knows, maybe a few of you will be inspired to do the same thing. Maybe you'll make someone's day by returning a grocery cart or paying for someone's coffee.
Maybe this year giving back is the new black. Editorial note from Laura: It's on.