Recently I was sitting in McDonald’s binge eating and…
Directly across from me sat a single mother with her 2-year-old daughter. The girl was drinking chocolate milk and the mother was taking pictures of herself with her smart phone. The little girl accidently dropped the cup and milk splashed across the floor.
The little girl began scrunching her face preparing for an epic meltdown. Not noticing the spill or her daughter’s rising anxiety the mother is still playing with her phone. Fearing a tantrum I scoot over to the spill with a handful of napkins.
The mother notices me near her feet, sees the spill, and joins me on the floor. After sixty seconds the spill is gone and the floor is clean again. The mother and I return to our respective table and chairs. Across the aisle we smile at each other.
Somewhere between the spicy chicken sandwich or double cheese burger I was lost in a daydream. I thought of my future family, wife and child, running errands when something happens and they need a little help. I’d want a good samaritan to step forward and help my wife.
All of this reminds me about Gandhi’s fake quote:
“Be the change you wish to see in the world.”
It wasn’t until I was in that moment on the floor cleaning up milk that it clicked. Cleaning the spill took seconds, didn’t cost anything, and by helping them they were helping me.
This realization took my breath away. It’s what we need to do! Let’s not spend time wishing coulda/shoulda/woulda, but get on it. Make it happen!
Pick up a piece of trash. Help someone cross the road. Listen with your whole heart. Share a hug.
Just try. Even trying a little, okay? Then try again.
I ordered an ice cream cone to-go and slowly walked back to the school. The sun was shining 70 degrees warm. It was beautiful outside, I’d helped a stranger, thought of being a family man, AND was eating ice cream! Win-win-win-win!
MICHAEL VENSKE is an expert mistake-maker whose faith and enthusiasm cause him to leap without looking. One such jump landed him in China where he’s currently teaching kindness, compassion, and the fine art of physical comedy.
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