Random Acts of Generosity

I was at Target.

It was a typical Target run: Windex, picture frames, poster board, socks, coconut water… you get the idea.

When I went to check out, I realized I didn’t have my wallet. I was a victim of online shopping from my living room that morning!

The cashier told me to take my cart to Customer Service and they would keep it until I could return with my wallet.

I went to Customer Service and waited for the woman in front of me to finish her exchange. My turn. I tell the Customer Service representative that I left my wallet at home. She is gracious and says she’ll keep my cart of goodies until I can return, when I hear, “Oh! You don’t want to have to do that. I’ll pay for it.”

I’m stunned and baffled. Behind me, a woman walks up, the one who had been making her exchange. No doubt, I am looking stupefied. She repeats herself, “It’s such a pain to have to go home and come back. I’ll pay for your items.”

I start protesting. “I don’t live that far away. You don’t have to.  It’s very sweet of you, but not necessary.” Of course the voices in my head are moving much faster than the words out of my mouth. You know how that goes. I’m thinking: “I can’t accept this. I don’t NEED financial help. I just got a promotion and a raise. I can’t accept this, I just can’t!” Meanwhile, this beautiful soul I now know as Sharon, keeps insisting.

Then I had my moment. Less than a week before I was talking to someone else, she too was not in financial need. She didn’t feel worthy of receiving because she didn’t NEED it. She wasn’t hungry or unable to pay her bills. Her husband makes good money, etc. I was talking to her about the importance of feeling worthy…yes WORTHY of receiving, in small ways and large ways.

BAM! It hit me. I have to practice what I preach. I stopped protesting and said, “Thank you!” I cried, no big surprise if you know me, I took pictures to post on Facebook, Target chipped in a 5% discount, the Target staff was pretty blown away by what was happening as well. I kept freaking out as the register total got higher and higher. I go back to protesting, “You can stop! This is costing too much. I really appreciate what you’re doing, but I don’t have to get all of this today.” The sweet and generous Sharon kept saying, “Nope. I’m all in!” She was true to her word at a total of $127.26!!

Sharon and I exchanged business cards. Later I emailed her and told her how grateful I was and what a lesson it was for me in how to receive. She wrote back and said that meeting me brightened her day. Imagine that! The encounter brightened her day! Then she shared these wise words, “I saw the chance to teach myself to stop and reach out – how many times do you see or hear something and then wish you would have acted on it or acted in a different way?  This quite simple act lifted us both and will continue to lift others…”


That is the challenge: to stop and reach out.

One woman’s random act of generosity; it changed me. It changed her. It matters. The things we do matter.

Sharon and I want to challenge you. Will you be the next one to offer a random act of generosity? Or will you, if offered, graciously accept someone else’s random act of generosity?

Take the random act of generosity challenge and describe your experience in the comments below. I’d love to hear how giving or receiving changed you.

Sharon Target.jpg