It was a stressful week; honestly, when is it not a stressful week if you’re a mom with bipolar who’s parenting young children, plus house-training a new puppy? Nevertheless, there were some highlights which got me to thinking about the beauty of kindness.
Last week I visited two places to buy lunch and a treat. The first spot was Salsa’s, a Mexican restaurant/drive-through. Although I loathe drive-throughs like the snob that I am, I genuinely like Salsa’s. While there are a ton of excellent Mexican dining spots in Santa Cruz County, Salsa’s works for me. The restaurant is close to home and I like the fact that it’s a drive-through. As I’ve had Lucy puppy join me on errands whenever possible both to quell my anxiety and ease her separation anxiety, Salsa’s drive-through element appealed to me
One late afternoon I was starving as I had foolishly skipped lunch. My girls were at a friend’s house, so Lucy and I headed over to Salsa’s. I ordered a carnitas plate and a large horchata. This was an indulgent lunch because their carnitas is as fried as fried gets. After ordering, I drove to the pick-up window in my old, dirty Suburu.
The young employee recognized me from a few prior visits. When she spotted Lucy, extra-fluffy from a recent bath, she oohed and ahhed. Another employee came up to the window and told me tearfully of the passing of her dog and how they had shared a bed for years. She complimented Lucy lavishly, and of course I took full credit as if I birthed the furry beast myself.
The first young lady staffer returned to tell me what I owed. I gave her my debit card without a second thought, for I was sure I had over fifty dollars in my account. When she ran the card twice and then told me that it didn’t go through, I freaked out and felt embarrassed. What check did I bounce? I thought in horror. I dug frantically in my purse because I knew I had a bit of cash hiding somewhere. I came up with some bills but was a few dollars short.
By this point I was “bonked out” – feeling weak from hunger. It was my own fault for not carrying an energy bar or some other snack with me.
I apologized profusely to the employee, expecting her to say “See ya!” She completely surprised me by saying, “Don’t worry about it!” I think that the sight of Lucy making puppy eyes at her influenced her to be kind.
This sort of thing just doesn’t happen to me anymore, so I felt very happy. My faith in humankind was restored for the rest of the day.
The next day, however, my warm and fuzzy feelings about the world-at-large vanished. I was in our driveway getting the mail. Craig had just returned home from doing errands in Santa Cruz. I walked by his car and spotted a neon pink post-it on the dashboard with neat handwriting, and I was
nosy curious about its contents. Here’s what it contained:
“I live in the alcove above the parking lot where I saw someone rear-end your car. Here’s the make/color and license plate number.”
I gasped. Then I looked at the bumper; half of it was marked with brand-new scratches. It wasn’t major damage, but it was enough to warrant repair. I fumed. Unfortunately I let out a few extremely loud, super-offensive curses that I won’t repeat here. I hope none of my conservative neighbors heard me.
Actually, some of my warm ‘n fuzzy feelings remained because I appreciated that someone took the time to write the note and leave it. But I still felt pissed at the perpetrator! I went to talk to Craig about the hit & run. Craig is the mellow one in the family (thank God) and he was going to let the whole thing go.
I wanted justice to be served, however, so I called the non-emergency line of the sheriff’s department and I got a really helpful sheriff on the line. He took the case seriously and Craig decided to report the incident to him. I now know the name and address of the person who hit our car. He lives one town away from us. I’ll sheepishly admit to you that I looked him up on Facebook, but I held back from sending a message that would only serve to incriminate me, and cause me to sink to his level. Our insurance company will handle it from this point on.
Last week’s third highlight took place when I ran over to Masood’s Ben Lomond Mini Mart, an unassuming market is five minutes away from our house. I went there to purchase two pints of ice cream. Masood sells a great selection of flavors including locally made Marianne’s ice cream and the biggies: Ben & Jerry’s and Haagen Dazs. As he rang me up (Haagen Dazs mint chip and Ben & Jerry’s Phish Food) I was short by two dollars. As Masood has a reputation for being a rather shrewd businessman, I expected him to tell me to put one pint back. He took one look at my sad face, and told me to pay him another time. Once again, I was full of bonhomie! Life was good.
I topped off the week with my own act of kindness, apart from refraining from stalking the guy who hit our car. A house down the street from ours sold a week ago, and I decided to be a one-woman welcome wagon. I bought a card and cute “Can of Daisy Seeds” (CVS, $1.99) and put them in a bag. I signed the card welcoming the new owner to the neighborhood and included my email and phone number. I left the bag in her mailbox as I didn’t want to show up unannounced on her doorstep — my social anxiety is still vicious.
After the hellish years of bipolar depression where I focused on misery and hopelessness, it has felt good to be a little bit thoughtful, especially with a stranger. (Forget about family members or friends! Just kidding!) I’ve always loved stories about random acts of kindness, such as folks paying tolls for cars behind them, or treating someone standing in line for a coffee drink.
Since, as you can probably infer from this post that I’m not made of money, I don’t do these sorts of financial acts of kindness. But maybe I will venture out this summer to spread a little kindness of my own to others. I’m not sure what I would do, exactly. Feed parking meters about to expire? Nah! (In some places I think it’s even illegal to do that!) Give a dollar to every busker along Pacific Avenue? That would be truly kind, but I’d need a lot of money because there are a ton of buskers on this popular pedestrian avenue during the summer.
Thanks to the internet there is a Random Acts of Kindness Foundation website complete with a list of kindness suggestions and great quotes, etc. Here’s the link:
I’ll let you know if I go for it, and what happens! That will be a fun post to write…
In the meantime, thanks for being kind enough to read my blog. You’ve done a random act of kindness of your very own in sticking through to the end of this post. :)))
Take care, dear readers!
“The best part of life is not just surviving,
but thriving with passion and compassion and
humor and style and generosity and kindness.”