It was Christmas Eve last year when I realized that our M&S coupons were expiring today. Goodness, that was a useful voucher, but we didn’t need anything or have space in the fridge or cabinets for more groceries. That’s ok, I would just run over and hand them to shoppers who could make use of them. We needed milk anyway, so it wasn’t a frivolous trip to the store.
The vouchers came from spending a certain amount during the Christmas season and would bring the bearer a monetary discount off grocery items totaling a certain amount. Very handy for anyone doing a big shopping trip on Christmas Eve no doubt!
I arrived at the store to find it bustling with Christmas ‘joy’ and last-minute shopping. Looking for someone with a cart full of groceries (which would bring the magical total making the discount possible), I found someone and cautiously approached. How could I explain this without sounding crazy. After all, people don’t just give people things for no reason, even if it is Christmas Eve.
“Sorry, hi there. I was wondering if you’d like my spare voucher. I won’t be buying enough to make it worthwhile and it expires today.” Hmm, that actually sounded normal. Cool.
“Sure.” the man takes the voucher in exchange for a confused and surprised expression.
I make another circuit around the shop, but no one else with a cart or heavy basket so I give up, grab the milk we need at home, and queue up to pay. The couple in front of me have two baskets filled with items. Maybe they could use the voucher. I repeat my now successful line to them. They look at my milk, probably making sure I sincerely wasn’t in need of the discount myself then accept the slip of paper. Then they say something about my still using the voucher and they take my milk from me.
This couple whom I had just met in the queue ended up including my milk in with their purchases. Because they used the voucher I gave them, the milk cost them nothing, but it still took a moment of generosity for them to make that effort. I never got their names, but they are the kind of people who make the world a kinder place!
As we enter this Christmas season, let’s remember that it is a season of giving and that doesn’t just mean what you buy and wrap for under the tree. Think outside the box and give a smile, a kind word, a little more space on a crowded bus, or even let someone with one item go ahead of you in the grocery queue.