There’s apparently a marvelous movement taking place in our area: random acts of kindness that demonstrate our love for others. Not necessarily just for those in need, but for the rich as well.
Mark Garnett of Akron called me a couple of weeks ago to say that he believes more people are paying for strangers’ meals. That very day, he was in line at a local McDonald’s drive-thru. He told the cashier he wanted to pay for the person in line behind him, and learned that the person ahead of him had bought his food.
So I got to thinking: How would the mood of a community be affected if for one day there were widespread acts of kindness, paying for others’ meals? Not at Christmas or another holiday when generosity is often expected, but a day chosen by the people?
Curious what others might think, I posted the question on my Facebook page. The reaction was instantaneous. Dozens responded, telling me their stories and offering support. Here are just a few:
John Hurd Jr.: “I have on occasion paid for tolls for the car behind me. I’ll give them like 20 bucks, to cover as many tolls as it covers. Had someone follow me to where I was going once to give me a hug.”
Cherry Dudley: “I would frequently see an elderly couple with an adult Down Syndrome man at various restaurants and one day had the waitress put their meal on my tab.”
Ron Price: “Over the years, I’ve paid for many things from partial grocery bills, parking lot fees and yes, meals. Anytime I see someone in need I try to help if I can, and being a veteran I will always purchase the meal for anyone in uniform that I see in the same eating facility. Don’t know if more people are doing it but it sure gives me a warm feeling anytime I can help someone else, or show an act of kindness for my fellow man.”
Megan Longo: “I work at the Denny’s Classic Diner and about a year ago on a Sunday one of our regulars, ‘Steve,’ paid for a family’s meal. … It went on all day. We suspect about 25-30 families paid for the next family’s check. That was the coolest day I’ve ever worked anywhere. If you come in on a weekend day shift and ask about it, they’ll all tell you. I always hope to see that happen again. No complaints that day, just smiles.”
So on Sunday, March 8, my hundreds of Facebook buddies and I are asking that you “Share a Meal” and please pick up a stranger’s check. To avoid any embarrassment, you might leave a note, something like this:
“Good day, friend. You have been randomly chosen to receive a gift of a free meal from someone participating in Share a Meal Day. Blessings and enjoy!”
Congregations often do something similar, particularly around the holidays, so I’m hoping — no, praying — that they help us with this effort March 8.
During or after our Share a Meal Day, please send me an email or go to my Facebook page (see below), send me a friend request if necessary, and comment on what you gave, received or witnessed that day. I will follow up in another column with what made you feel inspired, thankful or proud.
Perhaps that will motivate us to take on a bigger project. I would love to hear your ideas.
Blessings and thank you!
Kim Hone-McMahan can be reached at 330-996-3742 or email@example.com. Find her on Facebook at www.facebookcom/kim.honemcmahan1.