Friday, February 5, 2010

A Happy Story

Last night I sat at the karate studio watching Roscoe's class. After running through some kicks and defensive techniques, the class broke to gear up for sparring. There's this one kid in Roscoe's class that I love. He must be seventeen or eighteen and he does the coolest karate you've ever seen. He's sharp, he's fierce, and it's beautiful. You can tell that he loves it. That he's just coiled up inside waiting to let loose a can of whoop-a** as soon as class starts. Also, I had just watched him doing defensive techniques with a kid about half his size. This guy coached and encouraged and complimented--in the sweetest way and with the handsomest white smile--the kid who he could have squashed like a bug.

So this guy ends up near me as he straps on his helmet and other gear. "Look at these foot pads," he says to a classmate. "They're just going to break in pieces any second. I've had them since I was, like, twelve. But, you know, no dinero."

Sparring begins. Now maybe this guy's dad picks him up from class in a Maserati, but somehow I don't think so. I get the vibe that he's pretty self-sufficient, that his presence in this somewhat pricey karate class is due to his own drive and mojo rather than rich parents.

And I get the idea, "I could buy him some foot pads."

Now I'm actually playing things pretty frugal right now. What little is in my bank account needs to stay there to fund this California trip. But actually, it occurs to me, I happen to have $35 cash in my wallet.

"I bet I could buy foot pads for $35," I think.

But it's crazy, right? The kid doesn't need me. He's probably just complaining about money recreationally. And it would be weird for me to buy him foot pads. But I'm starting to feel all keyed up and excited about my idea. I just have the feeling that it's the right thing to do.

I recently read this blog post about how being a good Christian is often a matter of saying yes. Yes, I'll react to this person in need. Yes, I'll step up to the plate. Yes, I'll be the person to choose the right. So finally, I thought, "Yes! I'll do it!"

I walked up to the counter and said to the receptionist, "How much does a pair of foot pads cost?

You'll never guess what she said: "Thirty-five dollars."

I start digging in my purse. "Can you do me a favor? Tell {kid's name} that someone bought him new foot pads."

The woman stops and looks at me, "Are you buying {kid} foot pads?" And now I know I'm right, because the ways she says this tells me that, no, this kid's dad is not picking him up in a Maserati and, yes, he could use some help.

"Yes. I am," I say happily.

"Well," she says, "There is an employee discount, so that's $29." Now she's speaking my language! We're in cahoots! I hand over $29 and she promises to deliver my secret for me.

It was the funnest thing I've done in ages.


  1. That is one of my favorite rushes there is.

  2. That is such a wonderful story! Big, fat kudos to you for following that inspiration! That is truly an example of letting yourself be an instrument in God's hand.

  3. I subscribed to your blog feed awhile ago (I think I was searching for beanie looms and found you) and haven't commented...until now. I love that you shared that story! So often we want to do nice things and then we think, well, they might think I'm crazy or it's weird, or whatever and we talk ourselves out of following subtle promptings. I've been on the giving and receiving end of simple acts like this and I just wanted to say I think what you did was awesome. Not only the anonymous gift, but the "saying YES". Thanks for the reminder!

  4. What a happy story. I'm so glad you said YES!

  5. I got to be the middle man in a story like this many years ago. A man a church asked me to tell a missionary who he noticed had very worn shoes to go to a particular store the next day and choose a new pair. The saleperson would not expect payment and the missionary was not to be told who the benefactor was. It was great just to be the messanger!

  6. Mad props from this farmer. I feel similarly about my money and had an opportunity to kick a fiver to a vato at the junkyard - it feels good, and I didn't miss the $5.

  7. That is an inspiring story and serendipitous that all the pieces were in place. Thanks for reminding me to look for opportunities like this, it has been a long time since I have done anything like that.

  8. I am very proud of my little girl. Love ya tons!

  9. Now that is a happy story! Thanks for sharing.

  10. My miserable-the-whole-family-is-sick-and-dad-is-out-of-town day just got a little bit better reading your tale. Thanks!

  11. You get fifty gold stars Ang! That money will definitely be paid back to you in blessings!

  12. OK that's completely awesome. I'm glad I found this story. :)