Some people hit the high seas and go on a cruise for vacation. Others road trip across multiple states or fly across the country looking for their next adventure. Me? I drive the 2.5 hours to Cedar City and mingle with the small town, home grown folks inhabiting Southern Utah. It's okay to roll your eyes. I do. Or at least I used to.
There is a "must do" list I have for whenever I am in Southern Utah. Brad's Food Hut is at the top of that list. It's greasy, deep fried, saturated-in-anything-that-might-cause-a-coronary deliciousness. My mother, the nutritionist, will deny it if asked but might possibly be having a small love affair with their fish'n'chips and dirty Dr. Pepper. It's that good, y'all. Anyway, I was sitting in the drive-thru after having ordered when one of the girls working comes to get my payment. The total: $23.48. When she returned with my card and the receipt, I checked out the amount paid and had to double check the numbers staring me back in the face. $8.48. As if reading my mind, the girl at my window explained the difference, "The lady in the car ahead of you comes in once a week and pays an extra $15 for the car behind her," before hurrying back inside. The mysterious woman who paid for more than half of my order was gone and I didn't know who to thank. For once, I was speechless. I've heard of this kind of thing happening but never has it happened to me. I couldn't believe it.
I'm not entirely sure why I happened to be the recipient of good deeds on my last trip home, but the occurrence at Brad's wasn't the only one. My grandmother woke one morning having a major craving for pancakes. I've tried to get a handle on my culinary handicap but have yet to master the pancake flip. I wasn't about to attempt it, especially since my grandma wanted them so much. The solution to my problem came in the form of IHOP. You want pancakes? Why not go to the International House of, right?
I have a daughter. She has this condition known as "three years old". Most things she does are unpredictable. But there are some that roll around like clockwork and most of these things involve the bathroom. We get in the car and she suddenly needs to go. We sit down in a restaurant and she can't possibly hold it any longer. That morning, at IHOP, was one of those instances. We deserted our booth and rushed to the bathroom. Business done, we returned to find what appeared to be a hastily written note and a 5 dollar bill in the middle of our table. "We noticed you had kids and remember how expensive it can be to feed them. Hope this helps." In between wondering how loud my kids had to be for someone to notice they were in the building and looking around for a clue as to who left the note and money, I was touched. This was random act of kindness number two in the span of a few days.
A week that I expected to be unremarkable has changed my outlook on life and people. I am ashamed to admit that I get a little frustrated with the lack of compassion in the world. I know there are great people out there. I read and hear about amazing stories of service and selfless charity, but often times the negative overshadows the positive and I forget that maybe there is a little hope in the world. Maybe, just maybe, there are people who really do care about the big picture. It's nice to be reminded and an ordinary trip to Cedar City, Utah, has definitely brought a little spark into my life. To top it off, I probably won't be rolling my eyes the next time my mother requests us home for a visit.