A Lesson About Gifts

This morning a kid walked up to me and asked if I wanted to donate a dollar for a bookmark. He and his friends were raising money to buy books for kids who don’t have access to books.

I had just left the barbershop and was in the middle of unlocking my bicycle when the he approached me. So my mind was on moving to the next thing. As sweet as the kid was, I just wanted to make my donation and get on my way. But he kid was insistent on me checking out the bookmarks and choosing one.

I obliged and kindly went over to the makeshift booth he and his friends had set up and learned more about why they were raising money and what each bookmark was for. Each bookmark was designed for a specific purpose.

I could have just made my donation and went on about my way, but it was important for me to accept the gift of emotional labor from this kid. It was also important for me to reciprocate that gift. Without doing so, would have made the interaction purely transactional.

I would imagine it took courage for the kid to walk up to me and ask for a donation. But then again, kids often don’t have the hang-ups and insecurities that we adults have spent a lifetime developing.

As I unlocked my bike and started on my way, the kid gave me one last gift. He gave me a genuine smile and told me to have a great day. It was the gift of perpetual goodness. It put a big smile on my face as I rode to my next destination, and it inspired this post. Thanks a lot, kid. You’re awesome.

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