A small act of kindness can go a long way. The world is filled with messages, noise, violence, hate… but a kind gesture can out power it all. It’s the kind of thing that will stay with you for years to come. A small thing, can change a life and create a ripple effect, which is just what the world needs. There was somebody I once knew, who did just that. I will never forget him.
When I was a little girl my family and I attended church. There was a gentleman who also attended and he loved to give out candy to the kids. His name was Mr. Collins. He usually had a few different types of candy that he would give away, but my favorite of them all was Werther’s Original. On my birthday or special celebrations like baptism, he would be sure to have a Werther’s just for me. He was always smiling, even when he was going through a rough time.
I can clearly remember his gentleness, kindness and joy.
One conversation we had before service when I was about eight years old still rings clear. I was holding the front door open for others as they came in, and Mr. Collins had been observing me without my knowledge. A gentleman came to the door seemingly annoyed by my gesture, and would not allow me to hold the door open for him. Mr. Collins came to me and asked me, “Why are you holding the door for others?” To which I replied, “Because I enjoy it, and I know that it’s the right thing to do.” He said, “Not everyone will want your help, and that is okay. God sees your heart takes great joy in it.”
Those words, those were the words that stayed with me forever.
So simple, and yet it changed me. From that day forward I knew that the reaction of people was not what mattered. It was about the kindness that was coming from my heart. Mr. Collins seemed to remember me even after I moved away, because every time I would visit he would still have a Werther’s Original in his pocket for me. When I was about fifteen years old I went back to my hometown during Christmas break to visit. I ran into him and his wife at the mall, but he looked different. He was losing his health, and aging rapidly. Unfortunately, instead stopping to visit, I decided that shopping and looking for a great deal was more important. I still remember the hurt in his eyes as I had walked away, although at the time it hadn’t registered with me.
When I was sixteen years old, he passed away. I never saw him again. He never handed me a Werther’s again, I never saw his unfailing smile, or listened to anymore of his war stories. When the news of his death reached me, I regretted my actions. But it was too late.
Sometimes, we take things for granted far too easily.
Two years later on a warm summer day I was running behind schedule and late for work. I decided to take a shortcut through a store, which had two doors. So I opened one and held it for a gentleman who was slowly following behind me with his cane. I was losing my patience as he slowly crept through the door and all I could think about was getting to work. But once he got through he said, “Thank you!” and handed me a candy. At that moment I was almost in tears as I could almost see Mr. Collins giving me a wink. But more importantly, I could feel God’s love for me. I knew at that moment I was at the exact place and time that I was supposed to be.
Can you guess what candy that gentleman had handed me? A man who was a complete stranger? A Werther’s Original.
Life has had it’s ups and downs since then. However, every time I see a Werther’s Original I remember Mr. Collins and the message he left with me. I see the ripple effect that his kindness created, and I know..
God always has a plan.
If you missed the last true story, you can read it here.