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Let Life Surprise You

The other day, I stopped for gas at a station that was very busy and of course I was in a hurry. Plus, I get frustrated even having to stop for gas. When I get inside to pay, there was a big line of people waiting for the one and only cashier. Thoughts buzzing through my head. Do I want to wait? How long will it take? Can I somehow cut this line?

The impatience clearly must have showed on my face as I heaved a huge exasperated sigh. Turning to see how far the line went, my glance falls on a very large, very dark man with gold teeth and Rastafarian hair who’s looking at me and gently asks, “You just getting gas? You can go in front of me.”

Still in my head, I say, “No thank you, I don’t want to cut the line,” barely acknowledging his kindness as I move past him towards the back of the line. While standing waiting, I’m thinking about what an unexpected kind gesture this stranger offered me and I barely gave him the time of day.

Regretting my haste, I watched him at the checkout, hoping he would come back towards me when his transaction was complete so I could have the chance to say more clearly how much I appreciated his caring.

Yes! He was coming my way. We looked at each other and I held his eyes and said,” Thank you for your kindness to me.”  He seemed to not really take in my words but said a brief, “Okay.”

I paid, went outside to pump my gas and was thinking about what had transpired between us. Was he unfeeling or uncaring about my words to him? Here he had so nicely offered me to cut the line in front of him and yet he barely acknowledged that I had spoken to him again.

Turning to put the pump away, here he was again, going to the truck that was just next to my car on the other side of the pumps. As we glanced at each other he nodded and said to me, “See you.” I nodded back and said, “See you.”

I felt happy. Our brief connection was in my thoughts as I got back in my car to be on my way.  Could it be that we had both done the same thing in different ways? Both in our heads, not expecting the unexpected? He offered me a kindness and I, too hurried, missed his gesture. Then I offered him back a thank you, a recognition of his gesture and he was surprised by it?

How many times have you missed an opportunity to speak or acknowledge a moment but missed it; wishing you had a second chance to go back and change the outcome or to speak or notice or say, Thank you. I so appreciate your kindness. I’m so glad this time I did.

Small moments can be big moments. Heart moments. No matter whether at the gas pump, hurrying somewhere or out for a walk, feeling good is what’s really important. Small moments are gifts that we can offer each other. Pass the moment along. Let life surprise you.