“I almost stayed in my van. I was so close… because staying where you are is the easy choice isn’t it?
But I heard a whisper, so I got out.
Do you ever get those? That little nudge like you are supposed to do something? A little whisper from God to your soul?
A mom and her son who were strangers to me had just walked up in front of the school where I was waiting for Sam to finish tutoring. I went over to them and peeked in the windows where they were doing the same. Maybe I could help with something?
Turns out she was waiting for her son’s teacher. It was so quiet standing there in front of the doors, which were locked so we couldn’t go in to wait. Instead, we exchanged a few awkward pleasantries as we stood there. Eventually, as the conversation died, I wished I had stayed in the van because I babble when there’s silence. I had left my phone behind so there was no way to look busy. Clearly, they were not in need of help and then she got word her appointment at school was canceled so they turned to go.
As the mom and her boy left, she touched me on the arm.
‘I want to share this with you,’ she said.
This stranger in front of me smiled and looked me right in the eye.
And she took my hand and placed an orange in my palm.
An orange you guys…so the next part makes no sense.
I felt my eyes fill with tears and my heart start to crack open.
‘Thank you’, I said, stumbling over the words. ‘Thank you so much.’
I tried to hide my crazy overreaction from her as she walked away.
She nodded and smiled and got in her car with her boy.
I took my orange and sat on the bench outside of the school and let the emotions come.
What in the heck was wrong with me? Why did this orange make me want to cry? Why did it touch my heart so deeply?
I looked at the familiar school and trees as I sat there completely alone. Sitting like this felt like a miracle because I haven’t been great at sitting with my thoughts lately, but the orange made me pause. I felt the breeze and listened to the birds and the bugs and soaked in the quiet and tried to bring words to what I was feeling.
This was such a small thing to have such an impact, but really, it’s the small things that change our world.
This one act of kindness made me realize how starved we all are for someone to reach out and look us in the eye and show they care.
This one thing she did, handing me an orange of all things, made my whole day. I found myself smiling more, treating the people in line at Aldi’s to a smile and a hello, letting someone in in traffic. It had a ripple effect that I could feel in my soul.
And she just handed it to me like a little gift. Not worrying if I had had breakfast or if I liked oranges or if it was the right thing to do.
She took what she had and shared it.
She didn’t ask… she just gave.
‘I want to share this with you.’
What would the world be like if we all took what we had and shared it?
What if we all looked to the person next to us and said I want to share this with you?
A compliment, a ride, a thought, a dollar, a turn in line, a song, a story, an orange…what a world it would be if we all lived this way? If we shared the gifts, we hold in our hands by pressing them into the hands of another?
There was nothing in this exchange that any of us couldn’t do.
And those whispers today? I am so glad I listened to them. I assumed God had work for me to do, but it turns out today I got to receive a gift.
The gift is the lesson found in the orange.
No act of kindness is too small to make a difference. And many small acts together can change the whole world. Each and every one of us has that power.
Today, I challenge you to remember the story of the stranger and the orange. Share it with your friends. Share it with your kids. Share it with anyone that needs to remember there is kindness in the world.
And then follow in her kind footsteps.
It will make all the difference… today it did just that for me.”
This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Hiding in the Closet with Coffee by Amy Betters-Midtvedt. The article originally appeared here. Submit your story here, and be sure to subscribe to our best love stories here.
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