2019–a surprising new project
My New Year greetings begin with a story about a gift card, a conversation and a dream come true.
Not knowing the amount on a gift card, I was thrilled that twenty five dollars remained after my purchase. In casual conversation with the cashier, she commented how she’d love a gift card from that store. The moment to hand it to her passed before I took action.
If something is meant to be, another opportunity will present itself. Driving to my next errand, I pondered the idea of creating happy surprises for others and a simple plan took shape. After a couple of stops to get supplies (note cards, printing labels and tiny envelopes) I went to work on my new project called Just for YOU, Just Because.
On the inside of colorful note cards, I glued small envelopes each containing a ten dollar bill. A printed label was affixed to the card’s front side with the following: “This gift is for you—just because. Its intention is to share the joy of receiving a delightful surprise. Use it as you wish and may each dollar you spend abundantly return to you at least ten times in blessings and good fortune. If this made your day, please share the idea with others.” Each was sealed with a heart sticker and a label on the envelope that said, “Just for You, Just Because.”
Christmas day I drove to Santa Ana in the afternoon with ten envelopes. When I saw an open gas station, market, or fast food place, I stopped, went inside and handed the cashier an envelope. No names, no photos, no nothing. My heart is forever imprinted with the huge smile greeting Marquez gave me not even knowing I had something for her. Same with the young girl at a donut shop, the clerk at a busy grocery store, the tired-looking man at a mini-mart or the barista taking care of several coffee-to-go customers at a kiosk inside a drug store. My last recipient was an elderly lady sitting at a bus stop trying to keep warm. Quickly I made a U-turn just ahead of her bus, hopped out of my car and handed her the envelope just in time. Simply the best feeling ever!
It has always been my dream to be a philanthropist when I grew up. Over the years I’ve realized that it’s not how much we give rather the spirit in which we give it. My intention is to expand this project throughout 2019–would you like to join me?
Originally published in OC Register, January 10, 2019