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Friday, December 6, 2019

A Long-Forgotten Kindness


Since my wife went back to work, we’ve been alternating picking up the girls from kindergarten and daycare. Depending on which day it is, I either pick up the younger one first, then go pick up her older sister or if she has a short day, I’ll pick up my oldest first, then go pick up her baby sister.

More often than not, when I pick up my eldest first, we stop at a gas station that is on the way to her sister’s daycare and pick up some chocolate milk. It’s a special treat, and she enjoys it, and I am the father of two little girls, so spoiling them once in a while is par for the course.

We walked into the gas station talking about what she’d learned in school that day, made a beeline for the cooler, took out two chocolate milks, and proceeded to go to the counter. As my daughter put the bottles on the counter waiting for the cashier to scan them, the man looked down at my daughter and said, “Your daddy’s a good man.”

“I know,” she said in a frank, matter of fact tone only a five-year-old can pull off without sounding condescending, then turned to ask me if she could have some candy, to which I answered no.

All the while, I was looking at the cashier, and noticing my confusion, he said, “you don’t remember me, do you?”

“Should I?” I asked, “Do we know each other?”

“You bought me a pizza once,” he said and broke out in a smile.

“Are you sure it was me?” I asked him.

“Yes, sir, sure as day, in Watertown, at the Little Caesar’s, about three years ago, I wasn’t doing so well back then, I was homeless, and you walked out of the store and handed me a pizza without me even asking for anything.”

I’m not sharing this story with you in the hopes that someone nominates my name for consideration for sainthood. It was a six-dollar pizza, and I can honestly say I don’t remember the man or the incident, even though I’ve been known to avail myself of the delicacies Little Caesar’s offers, delicacies only the most refined of palates can truly appreciate. I’ve also been known to purchase a few pies for people who tend to congregate by the recruitment center next door in the same little strip mall, so the man’s story rang true even if I didn’t remember him.

The reason I’m sharing this story with you is because three years in, this man still remembers a random act of kindness long forgotten by myself. For me it was six dollars; for him, it was something so impacting that he remembered my face all this time later.

Your daily interactions with the world around you matter. They will have an impact more far-reaching than you can possibly imagine, and touch the lives of others in ways you can’t even fathom.

I paid for our chocolate milks and walked out of the gas station shaking my head at how small the world is. As I was strapping my daughter into her car seat, she asked, “Tati, why did you buy that man a pizza?”

“Because he was hungry,” I answered. 

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

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