Anyway, I decided before I even grabbed a cart that I would do something nice for the person working outside. After shopping, I grabbed a Venti Signature Hot Chocolate from Starbucks (WITH whip, of course) and the last fiver in my wallet. When I came outside, I stopped, and asked how the woman was doing. I dropped the bill in the slot, at which point she thanked me. I handed her the drink and said, "It's so cold out tonight, so I thought you might like a hot drink. Happy Thanksgiving!" She said a surprised and somewhat stuttered "thank you so much," and smiled when she took the cocoa.
I jogged with the cart to my car, and jumped in with the heat on as soon as I could. I still felt bad that people all over the country were standing in the cold, collecting money for those less fortunate than them, and that those people were probably in far worse shape in other places. But it made me feel warm inside to have happily given $10 to a worthy cause, and that I saw the results of half of that immediately.
Think about it. The needy felt good because of the donations in the Salvation Army bucket. The volunteer felt good because of her contributions to charity, and because of the kindness of a perfect stranger. I felt good (great!) because I did something nice for someone who was doing something nice for someone else.
I'm not making myself a hero because of a cup of Starbucks. But never underestimate the rewards you get for doing something selfless for someone else. I bet I felt even better getting the hot cocoa for the woman than she felt receiving it. So next time you're at the supermarket, skip the overpriced muffins and throw that $6 in the red bucket. Buy a volunteer a cup of coffee; even a $1 cup from 7-11 will be appreciated. Hold the door for a woman with a stroller. Smile at the cashier at Gap, tell him to have a good day, and mean it. You'll be amazed at how good you feel, and how long it lasts.
Cheers to random acts of kindness,