Well, when you think you have the world figured out, you get hit by something that blows your mind. I have made it a habit of buying lunches for officers and soldiers if I am in line with them. It is something small I can do that says thank you for the risk you take every day for our safety. Today was one such a day.
Congrats Julian, you did something nice.
Place: Jimmy John’s in Omaha, NE. Situation: Two Douglas County Sherriff’s were first in line ordering.
So, like a good citizen, I jumped out of line and said, “these are on me.” The officers were gracious and said, “You don’t have to do this” and “Thanks.” It is the typical transaction. I thank them, they shake my hand and I say ‘stay safe.’ Nothing extraordinary.
My world gets rocked.
Then, an incredible young lady enters the picture. Tiffany is a single mother of a 3.5-year-old and an expectant mother of a newborn, due in late September. I mosey back to the end of the line where I take my place behind this stranger to me. She asks me if I had just bought those officers lunch and I replied “Yes.” She replied that I was so nice and her brother always does that. She states that if she were in a better financial situation, she would do the same thing. Then, she did something that I will remember forever. She reached into her wallet and pulled out two coupons for Jimmy John’s that she had. I am not sure where she got them, but she said, here, take this. She gave me one.
Who gives when you can’t afford?
Now, Tiffany had told me that she wasn’t in the position to pay for someone else’s lunch, but it didn’t matter. She took what she had and shared it with me. Fast forward a couple of minutes and I invite her to sit at the table where we had lunch together. I come to learn she is expecting in a baby girl in September. She seemed a bit nervous as she is a single mom with a young boy. I could see though she was doing her best to be the best mom for her kids she can be. You know, I can sense it. I had caught her between hospital visits. I am so thankful for this chance encounter. Like a good promoter, I signed her up for our parenting challenge right there! 🙂
I was able to share the story about my daughter with her. I was able to explain how we have to redefine parenting based upon the conditions we are sometimes given. I felt overwhelmed with the conversation and the realization I want to do more with my grace and my giving.
One Valuable Lesson
The lesson for me is simple. People who give when they can’t afford it are special people. How do I respond with grace when I am challenged? When I have a little time? When I have little money? Do I step up?
I am so fortunate today to have met this incredible young lady. At my wise age of 47 (almost 48), there are very few times I am surprised by others behavior. Today was one of those times.
I know there are millions of Tiffany’s out there who step up when they really need someone to step up for them. I hope that as I continue to grow as a father and as a Christian, I am more like Tiffany.