The Gift Of An Empty Box


10 years ago, I walked to the back of the long line at the post office during the busy shipping season of Christmas.  An elderly lady soon entered the store, picked up a shipping box and stood to the side of the line.  I said to myself, “To the back of the line old lady.  We all have places to go.  No cutting.”  As soon as I thought my harsh words, a short, stout Hispanic woman directly in front of me yelled in a thick accent to the cashier, “How much is the woman’s box she’s holding?”  The cashier responded “two dollars.”  The Hispanic woman replied, “I’ll pay for her box when I get up there.  That way she won’t have to stand in this long line.”

The elderly woman looked shocked and told the Hispanic woman that she didn’t need to be so kind.  The elderly woman then reached into her purse and pulled out a $20 bill.  “Let me go next door and get change” she said.  “No” responded the Hispanic woman.  “I've got this covered.  You don’t need to stand in this long line.”  The elderly woman resistant again the Hispanic woman’s kindness and emphasized that she really didn't need to do this.  The Hispanic woman then grabbed the elderly woman’s shoulders, pulled her in close and said, “This is my Christmas gift to you.  Merry Christmas.” 

These two complete strangers then embraced as if they were long-life friends.  Time stood still for a small moment in that post office as I held back my tears of what I was witnessing.  I thought, "How could I have been so thoughtless and selfish?  How could this woman in front of me be so aware of serving those around her?"

When we are out and about this Christmas and holiday season, there are opportunities to lift and serve people around us.  If our hearts are filled with a negative emotion about someone or some situation, we might do well to look for the opportunity to serve instead.  Merry Christmas!