The Stranger

The Stranger

by | Nov 15, 2021 | Parenting Adolescents, Trending, Tween Times


Minding my own business, I stood in line at Sprouts, balancing a pint of strawberries and three avocadoes. I noticed the man behind me holding a beautiful bouquet in one hand and steering his cart with the other. My mask hid my smile, but I caught his eye and commented that he would be making someone very happy. I turned to the cashier, and we exchanged pleasantries as I searched for my credit card. As I thanked her and turned to leave, I felt a tap on my shoulder. The stranger handed the flowers to me.

His thoughtfulness caught me off guard. I hope I expressed my thankfulness eagerly. An extraordinary ray of sunshine enveloped me as I experienced membership in the club of unsuspecting kindness receivers.

I shared the stranger’s gift and my glee with the company visiting us that weekend. It wasn’t glee I figured out later. I felt gratitude— that emotion that sends oxytocin into our bloodstream and makes us feel connected and warmed.

That man’s thoughtfulness inspired me to make others feel as unique and chosen as he’d made me feel. Now I was in the pay-it-forward club, and I busied myself thinking of ideas and how I would orchestrate them. But I missed the point: opportunities reveal themselves spontaneously. Picking up the tab for the next person’s coffee, holding an umbrella over a shopper unloading her Costco cart in a torrential downpour, taking a care package for the homeless man who waits on a corner I frequent.

I doubt we dwell on what we’ve given or our impact on others in our collective memories because we are humble humans. Yet choosing to show kindness is not humble – it’s an intentional act from the depth of our very beings.

The value of this practice exceeds the sum of its parts – you and me. We’re at our best, sharing our humanity when our heart touches another’s, our soul writes on another’s, and our spirit breathes love into another.

Happy Thanksgiving, knowing I’m grateful to you.



©JoAnn Schauf, MS, LLC Your Tween & You  2021 All rights reserved