Something extraordinary happened to me today. At least, it seemed extraordinary to me. You see, I was, until that moment, having an ordinary Sunday. Maybe slightly worse than ordinary, because I had a flat tire. While flat tires may not be a big deal to many people, to me it was, because I am a single mom, struggling to make ends meet. Every penny counts. So I somehow managed to scrape together enough money to go and buy a used tire (and have it installed, as I honestly have no clue how to change a flat tire by myself). When the job was done, I had $10 left in my wallet. Just enough to treat myself to a movie – if I went to a matinee showing, and if I did not buy any popcorn (a difficult decision, because popcorn is my favorite food in the whole world).
And so I took myself out to see a movie I had been looking forward to for weeks: The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. I asked for my ticket, and was just about to hand the cashier my last few dollars, when a stranger intervened. “I want to pay for her ticket,” the stranger told the woman in the box office. Then he turned to me. “Please. I feel very moved to buy your ticket. Please let me.”
I was speechless. No one had ever offered such a thing before. My mind raced, immediately jumping to conclusions. Did I look poor, with my disheveled hair, faded jeans, and tie-dye canvas bag slung over my shoulder? Was it something in my appearance – perhaps an unconscious sad expression, or the way I was walking, with arms wrapped around my body, perhaps as a shield against the cold or to protect myself from people that may harm me? Was he flirting?
“Don’t worry – I’m gay,” the stranger answered my unspoken question. “So I’m totally not trying to hit on you. I just want to buy your ticket. Maybe it is God or something.”
And so, I stepped back, and let a perfect stranger – a kind, mysterious, and loving stranger, pay for my movie ticket. And I thanked him, with tears that were already beginning to overflow with tears. Because sometimes, people can do beautiful things for no other reason than to be kind. And without knowing who I was, or even that it was a challenge for me to splurge and go see a movie this afternoon, this strange man paid my way, as a random act of kindness. And so, with tears still splashing down my cheeks and blurring my vision, I went to enjoy what turned out to be an excellent movie – and I was even able to buy a popcorn, after all.