I have had two situations in the past weeks that have made me realize that simple acts of kindness (what I used to think was just part of being human) can be returned when you least expect it.
I attend a music festival in Okemah, OK every July since 2002–except for one. For 4 days a year, the tiny town is abuzz with musicians and music lovers. I have always stayed at the same hotel, and I always stop and speak to Jerry who works the front desk. I do this because it is what Mother taught me. This year, I waited too late to make reservations. There were no rooms. There are other hotels, but they are a bit further away, and when it comes to tradition, I am a bit of a stickler.
I called and Jerry answered the phone. I gave him my name and told him my plight. I asked if there were a waiting list and if I should forget it and just make alternate plans. He said, “I will find you a room.” He found me that one, and when I called back a day later on behalf of a friend, he laughed in my ear and found me another–but told me there were absolutely none left so an additional call would be fruitless.
Last night I went to a show at Eddie’s Attic in Decatur. Whenever there is an opening act, I have mixed feelings. Will it be a diamond in the rough or someone who must be endured to get to what I came to hear. Last night was the former, and I was pleased. The musicians I adore are never going to be mad famous or mad rich, but they have extraordinary talent. When one of them touches me, I like to let them know. It’s a small thing, but maybe it helps make that night at the hotel without their families a bit less lonely if they know that somebody *got* it. It was already far past my bedtime, but I waited patiently to talk to him. He was chatting with a couple older than I and the discussion turned to the pros and cons of unions. I thought it would last forever, but I still waited. I spoke to him briefly, asked him to sign a CD for a friend, and turned to go. Behind me were a man and a woman. They said, “He is playing at a private party tomorrow, we’d love for you to come.” They gave me the address and the time (and their names since I would be without invitation). Turns out it is a fundraiser for a local charity that appears to have goals in line with my ideas. It is also at a home in one of the swankier neighborhoods in Atlanta. Serendipitous? Yet to be determined. Really awesome example of how being in the right place a the right time opens many a door? Absolutely.
I was kind and appreciative to both of these folks with a genuine heart. I had no expectations of return on my investment. I was happy enough with the investment. I am ever so thankful that the universe really does pay it forward, and that I am the lucky recipient of late.