It was a snowy night, a couple days before Christmas 5 years ago. My dad and I had been going around, giving away turkeys and other Christmas foods to less fortunate families with other cub scouts from my pack. I had not wanted to go, namely because it was cold and I wanted to watch a new TV series. “I’m sure these people will get presents from Santa, so why do we need to give these people presents?”
“Because while you are sitting on the couch, they have to work very hard for just a little bit of food, so we want to be nice and give them a Christmas surprise from us.” answered my dad.
“Ugh, ok, let’s go get this over with,” I resented.
Well, I had gotten dragged into it anyway, so why not have a little fun? My dad turned the Christmas radio way up, and we were belting out Jingle Bells, Let it Snow, and other classic Christmas tunes.
We had one stop left to deliver to, in a snowy trailer park across town. We pulled into the park, looking for the address numbers, Christmas songs still stuck in our heads. We parked in the space in front of the trailer, grabbed the turkey and some other holiday treats, and knocked on the door. I had expected a kind of dumpy place, with two or three drunk people and a bunch of beer bottles on the ground. But when the door was answered, a large family all talking and laughing, greeted us at the door. They invited us in, and couldn’t stop thanking us for the food. But as I was sitting there, I was doing the math, and one turkey would not feed this whole family.
My dad must have been thinking the same thing, because he said “Why don’t you run out and get this nice family another turkey. This is our last stop, and we have an extra turkey that we don’t need,” my dad said to me.
“You seem like a family that could eat more than just one turkey, so you can have the extra,” he explained to the family.
I quickly ran outside, grabbed the last turkey and the rest of the food that we had in the trunk, and jogged back in. The family could not have been more grateful, even though they started to reject.
As I started to hand them the meal, one of them said ”No, no, we won’t steal food meant for someone else.”
“It’s not for anyone else. We have extras, and we don’t want or need to bring any food back with us,” I responded as I pushed the food towards them.
Finally after a brief resistance, they took the food when they saw that we really didn’t need the food. They were beyond grateful for the extra food, and waved us off as we drove away.
Something inside me had changed during that visit. I didn’t want to rock out to Christmas music anymore. I didn’t feel like watching TV. I kept remembering the faces the family made as we walked in with the turkey. The gracious thanks they kept saying as we walked out. That one small act of kindness for them had changed their holiday, and had changed my outlook on life.