One evening, during out stay in Alaska, I met an older couple in the elevator. We both were trying to navigate the complexities of the resort and began to laugh, as it turned into a game of Russian Roulette, trying to find the corresponding floors, to our corresponding needs.
We parted ways, but soon afterward they walked into the overcrowded bar looking for a place to eat dinner. No seats were available and so Kevin and I asked them to sit with us. Quickly, we learned that Joe, who reminded me of my father, and was the same age as he would have been, 87, had also served in WWII. He was a retired financial advisor, who spent his retirement trying to eradicate illiteracy in his southern community, something I greatly admired. He also had a penchant for small whiskey distilleries, as does my oldest son, and so a great discussion ensued over their favorites. Others around us began to contribute and soon it was a fun game of name that whiskey, that left everyone laughing.
His wife, Marilyn, was a retired nurse, who spoke glowingly about their children, their home, and the fact that every year they picked a new spot to explore on their vacation, this year it was an Alaskan cruise. It soon became apparent that she also had great responsibility in helping Joe, as dementia hidden beneath the surface began to rise. As he repeated the same questions and introduced himself again, I smiled and responded by once again introducing myself. She smiled in thanks at me, and I saw the sadness in her eyes. I realized this was her reality and she had accepted him for who he was, a great reminder that marriage is a lifelong commitment.
When their food arrived, we excused ourselves so they could eat. As we left, my hubby, who is the kindest and most generous man I know, asked the waitress for their bill and paid it, with a stipulation that they not know who their benefactor was.
Several nights later, we stopped in for a quick dinner and happened to have the same waitress. She couldn't wait to tell us that Joe and Marilyn were so surprised over their gift, but also wanted us to know we had started a chain of kindness. Joe and Marilyn had ordered coffee and dessert, which was not included in what we had already paid, but another patron who had overheard Kevin, generously added it to his bill, again without them knowing who it was from.
As we got up to leave the waitress handed Kevin a box with a dessert he had been contemplating and then decided against. She told him that this was not paying it forward, as she would do that in the near future to someone who was not expecting it, but that this was a thank you for starting the chain and giving her such an amazing gift as seeing it unfold. Thus the chain came full circle as Kevin was given a gift greater, gratitude, than he had given. Isn't that what it's all about?
Wednesday, September 3, 2014
A Chain of Kindness
- ▼ 2014 (9)
- ► 2012 (31)
- ► 2011 (18)
- Karen Rothfus
- Alta Loma, California, United States
- I am a wife of 28 years to Kevin, a pilot, a mother of 22 year old Kellan and 15 year old Keaton. I am caretaker to a zoo of animals including dogs, cats, chickens, fish, birds, turtles, etc. I am a gardener, a cook, a writer, a painter, a teacher, and I am truly blessed to be able to live life the way I wish too.