Our newest program at DeNome Alliances is called Random Acts and was inspired by a significant memory I have from when I was a child.
I can still see every moment of this memory as vivid as any movie on a screen. I was about 11 years old and I was in the front passenger seat of our car. My mom was driving and we were stopped in the left turn lane on the corner of North Dale Mabry Blvd and Columbus Drive in Tampa, Florida. To my left, there was an unkempt man sitting on a bucket placed on the median. He was holding a sign stating he was homeless and needing food. I remember feeling uncomfortable sitting there as we waited for our light to change. It was my first memory of seeing someone homeless and asking for money. I knew it wasn’t polite, but I couldn’t help but stare.
As I stared, I saw a truck two cars ahead of us and directly next to the homeless man. I watched as the driver side window of the pickup truck came down. I thought the man was going to give the homeless man money or something. Then all of a sudden the man in the pickup truck threw his cup of dark colored liquid onto the homeless man. I can still hear myself gasp as I looked at my mom in shock. I just kept asking her “why would he do that?” I simply could not understand what would possess someone to intentionally demean and harm someone else. I told my mom that we had to do something. This just wasn’t right. Could we call the police? “No, the man will be gone by then” she said as our light turned green and the truck drove out of sight onto the busy Dale Mabry Boulevard .
I sat stunned and memorized unable to move my eyes off of the homeless man as he quietly picked up his backpack and walked across the road to the Burger King. Our car started to move and instead of turning left my mom made a U-turn into the Burger King. She said “I have an idea.” She suggested that we buy the homeless man a meal and leave it for him as a surprise. I was thrilled by the idea, but also nervous. How would I give it to him? What if he was angry about having a drink thrown on him? As a child growing up, we were taught not to talk to strangers, so I was nervous and apprehensive. We saw the man place his backpack by the front door of the Burger King and watched him walk in. We quickly went through the drive through to order his meal. Now, I was afraid we were going to miss him. What if the drive-though takes too long? What if he is already gone by the time we pull back around? Luckily, the drive-through was extra fast that day. We pulled around and to my relief the backpack was still there.
We backed into a parking space about 20 feet from the front door. I quickly pulled out one of the napkins and wrote the man a letter. I told him that my mom and I had seen what that mean man had done and that we wanted him to know that we were sorry for what happened to him and that we hope this meal will make his day better. I read it back to my mom to make sure it was okay. I was too nervous to walk it over to the backpack myself so I asked my mom if she would place it next to his things. She got out of the car, walked over, placed the food by his bag, and placed my note on top. After she got back into the car we just sat, stared, and waited to make sure the man got his food.
As the man exited the Burger King he noticed the bag of food and my note. I can still remember holding my breath as he read my words. I saw that he began to smile as he looked up and scanned the parking lot. I exhaled a sigh of relieve as my mom and I waved from our car. The man smiled bigger and waved back.
To this day I can still recall the smile on his face. I don’t know if that man ever remembers that day or that moment that we shared, but I will always remember his kind smile and gentle eyes. He gave me a gift that day. The gift of how one Random Act can make such a positive difference. A Random Act of a meal and a hand written note to a man that had nothing material other than the possessions in his only backpack, but yet he gave me so much more that day.
This experience is what inspired me to begin the Random Acts Program. The Random Acts Program provides the community with resources and ideas, for positive human interactions that will inspire and motivate others. It is also a place for people to share their stories of random acts of kindness and how it impacted their lives.
In a world filled with negative media we want to provide a place to highlight the positive acts within our world. We want to provide a more balanced picture of the kindness of the human spirit while spreading inspiration and hope. Join us by doing Random Acts in your community. Then share your story with us.
The program also offers a Random Acts Scholarship to assist those in delivering their Random Acts (small and large) within their community.
To find out how you can get involved in your own Random Act of kindness or to share your story please visit us at http://www.denome-alliances.com/Random-Acts-Scholarship.html
To find additional resources to other’s stories of Random Acts please visit the link below.