Friday, April 26, 2013

Random Acts of Kindness Week #4--A Man at Barnes & Noble

 This week, a friend and I decided to visit a local Barnes and Noble to do something nice for a stranger. We talked about various things. Paying for an order before or after us. Buying someone's coffee in the coffee shop. Purchasing a beloved book and giving it to a stranger in the store. All the ideas were fun, but they didn't feel quite right in this instance.

    As we walked around, I remembered last April. My first big signing was only a year ago at that same Barnes & Noble. It's amazing what's happened since then. I've talked at dozens of schools and been to many signings anywhere from coffee shops, books stores, fairs, schools, restaurants and libraries.
    Here are some pictures from Barnes & Noble at my first big signing:

That signing is one of the best memories I have. The employees were so kind. They printed posters about my books and put them all over the store. At the signing, they brought drinks to Cade and me. One of the employees even went above and beyond, visiting with us, making us feel important as he bought our CD. He even let Cade and me play music inside the B & N store!

     After walking around for a while the other day, my friend and I stood in line. I joked with the cashier.  She hadn't been there last year.  A few members of their staff had changed; they even hired new managers.   
    While purchasing the gift card, I glanced at someone who sidled behind us in line.  I couldn't wait to give him the gift card.  Sure we could have left it with the cashier and had her give it to the guy, but for some reason I felt like giving it to him myself.
    After buying the gift card and receipt, my friend and I immediately turned to the man behind us. "This is for you," I said.  Then I caught his eyes fully and gasped. He was the kind employee who'd helped me at the signing last year. He's the one who let us play music in the store. He's the one who kept bringing us drinks before buying our CD! 
    "Why?" he asked, and I'm sure he didn't recognize me.
    "We're doing random acts of kindness, trying to spread some joy."
    Then we left. And I keep wondering about the odds of that man being in line behind us? Does he still work at Barnes & Noble? I'm still not sure if he recognized me, but I hope he knows how thankful I am for everything he did for Cade and me last year. Writing can be hard, sharing everything with the world, getting rejections, or negative feedback. But people like him--and you--have really inspired me to keep going through this writing journey.

    Isn't it strange that for the last two acts of kindness I've wanted to give something to strangers, but they've both ended up being people who've already blessed my life?  Here's the previous story if you'd like to read it: Flowers for a Stranger 

Maybe it just proves that what goes around does come around.... 

I've vowed to do a random act of kindness (and write about it) once a week until the end of May--when the R.A.K. Blogfest starts.    
Please check out the blogfest HERE.  
I'd love if you'd join up.     

P.S. Cade and I are giving away $50 for Mother's Day.  Feel free to take a second to enter HERE if you have time.