Birthday parties are joyful times when friends and family members get together to celebrate another year in the life of a person they love and care about. Food, laughter, cakes, balloons, candles and the usual “Happy Birthday” song are the norms. Gifts and acts of kindness show the birthday girl or boy just how special they are and how much they are loved.
This past Friday night was just that kind of night for my daughter, Julia, as we celebrated another wonderful year of her life. When I reflect upon the night, I think about the awesome time we had with friends and family, but I also think about the random acts of kindness shown by complete strangers.
Folks, there are still good people in this world with kind hearts!
After a fun hour of jumping, flipping and playing dodge ball at a trampoline park, we found ourselves at 828 Family Pizzeria, a local pizza restaurant to say, “Happy Birthday, Julia!”
There we were, a random group of 13 including 7 kids, carrying in balloons, hats, gifts and cake. We didn’t make a reservation because it was a last minute change in venue. We just showed up hoping to eat and have a party. The manager and staff were very accommodating. They made room for us and delivered delicious food and exceptional service.
Celebrating a birthday with a gaggle of kids at a pizza joint can make for a lot of noise and sometimes chaos, especially when the birthday girl’s dad buys those obnoxious noisemakers called squawkers and hands them out at the restaurant during dinner. Probably not the best idea, but it ended up being fine.
After pizza and lasagna filled our bellies, it was time to light the candles and sing to Julia. Christopher, Julia’s older brother, with his caring soul, prepared the cookie cake with the candles, served it to Julia and then sliced it, ensuring all the kids had the perfect piece. He’s such a good brother who has a huge heart.
The staff and restaurant were great. Friends and family showered Julia with gifts and love all night and Christopher was so happy to serve his sister on her day. These were acts of kindness that made Julia feel special, but not the ones that stood out most significantly.
As we were singing Happy Birthday to Julia, almost every patron and employee in the restaurant joined in, finishing with a thunderous applause that out did any sound the squawkers could make. It was so special to see and hear random people join in as we celebrated my daughter’s birthday.
To top it off, moments later, after Julia came over to sit on my lap, tired from the day and all the festivities, a gentleman came over asking, “Is this the birthday girl?” Julia looked up and smiled as he handed her a crisp five-dollar bill and said, “Happy Birthday.”
How cool is that? An individual, who we have never seen nor will probably see again, was there eating dinner with his wife or girlfriend, brought smiles upon all our faces with a simple, yet thoughtful act of kindness.
It’s mostly expected for friends and family to show kindness to a birthday girl or boy, but when the kindness of complete strangers helps my daughter feel extra special on her birthday, that makes me smile with happiness and gratitude. It shows me that there are good people out there who have love in their hearts and are willing to show it in special and unexpected ways.
The random acts of kindness of strangers on Friday night have inspired me to pay it forward in more obvious ways now. Hopefully sharing the story inspires you as well.
Just think of the difference we all could make if we collectively tried a little harder.
As Aesop once said, “No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.”
Why not tri random acts of kindness? They won’t be wasted and the world will be a better place for it.