“… I love you, much much,” by Don O’Brien Sr.
This quote is the last line from a saying my dad said to me every night until he died December 25, 1966. I was six. Fast forward about 40 years, I stood in a hospital cafeteria on Christmas morning. My mom had been raced into surgery for her heart — unfortunately another surgery in a string of surgeries. Things didn’t look good. But I have low blood sugar and skipping breakfast would mean passing out. So that is how my (step) dad and I ended up the cafeteria to be able to tell this story of altruism. (Thankfully, my mom survived.)
The first altruistic act was from the server to me. He heard me tell my dad of my blood sugar issues and piled my plate very high with eggs. It was the only way this stranger could help me and I still remember his thoughtfulness.
The second was from me to two other men. As I paid for our food — a much older man and a much younger man got in line to pay for their food. I told the cashier to put their orders on my bill. The younger man looked surprised but thanked me and moved on. The older gentlemen — well let’s say the conversation went something like this: “What? What do you mean? Who did that? Why would someone do that?” I smiled at the gentlemen and said, “Because it’s Christmas.” He got very quiet for a moment, “It’s Christmas? It is. It’s Christmas.” I replied, “Yeah and we’re here instead of home. So this is the only gift I have to give on Christmas morning.” The man teared-up, thanked me and went and sat down.
I chose this story because my act of altruism started with the young man serving me which reminded me to serve others. I also chose it so that I would remember not all people are able to receive love in the same way, but that doesn’t mean I should stop giving it.