No Stranger to Kindness

We were out of firewood. It was going to be a week before my parents could come to visit and bring some more, and the weather was supposed to be going down below freezing. The day before, we had gone out and collected as much wood from around the yard as we could. Mommy and the littles collected sticks, branches, and dead trees while daddy chopped. We had a nice little pile. Sunday morning came, mommy and the big girls went to church, daddy stayed home with the two youngest because one was sick and mommy had to teach Children’s Church. We were going to miss our church Thanksgiving dinner due to her sniffles so we decided to make homemade pizza and roast marshmallows on the fire. We burned through that little pile of wood that we painstakingly produced in no time. All that work…so little satisfaction. I told my husband that I would go to the store and get another batch of firewood just to get us through the evening…we had yet to roast the marshmallows. I went to our local Walmart to purchase a few bundles of wood because at the time I could not remember where I had seen firewood for sale and our fire was quickly burning out. I loaded several bundles into my cart and headed to the checkout…Garden Center of course. Those lines are always shorter. As I’m standing there waiting, the cashier and the gentleman in front of me are talking, I’m not sure about what, but I overheard her joking, “the wind keeps blowing around the cash in my cash drawer.”

Lightheartedly, I interject, “I wish it would blow some my way.” She smiles a kind smile.

At this time, the gentleman in front of me turns with his own smile and notices my cart full of firewood.

“Are you building a fire outside or in your home?”

“It’s for our fireplace inside,” I answer, “we are out of wood and my kids are expecting to roast marshmallows. I have one that is sick and we can’t go out in the cold.”

“Do you have access to a truck?”

“Well, yes. My husband has a truck. He drives a Tacoma.”

He then proceeds to give me his address. He explains that he has wood that he would be more than happy to give to our family if we would come and pick it up. The cashier handed me a blank piece of receipt tape and a pen to write on.

“I could never just take the wood from you. We were chopping some yesterday and I know how much hard work goes into it. We don’t need much because my parents are going to bring us some next week, but we would be glad to buy some.”

This kindhearted man proceeds to explain that his children used to use the wood to build bonfires in the backyard to hang out with their friends. They would gather on cold days, but now that they are grown, he really doesn’t need all the wood anymore. It has been sitting for a while and we were welcome to it. At that, he gave me a few more directions, told me his name, and left.

The cashier warmly explained to me that she knew the man and his wife. She smiled and told me that they were a nice couple. “I wouldn’t vouch for them if I didn’t think so.”

My husband programmed the address into his phone and drove over to collect some wood. He came home with a truck bed full…no charge.

Simple kindness.

When the world starts to seem so dark and full of hate, when you look around and see such bitterness and anger, turn on the tv and see violence and destruction, it is a blessing to witness such a simple act of love and compassion for fellow man. It restores your faith in humanity. My faith in the goodness of fellow man was restored a little in the check-out line at the local Walmart​ that day.

This stranger was kind to me JUST to be kind. No other reason. No other benefit.

I wish I had slowed down long enough to get the name of the cashier, but I will see her again…I’m a frequent Walmart shopper.

The kind stranger’s name was Jeff and he made my day.


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