The Rewards of Generosity

by Sandy Penny

One day, while musing on the subject of prosperity through generosity, I got a little hungry, so off I went to the Enchanted Garden, one of my favorite restaurants and regular hangouts. It used to be on W. Alabama. When I walked in, my usual waitress came over and introduced a new employee, Mary. Knowing that I was into spiritual studies, they had a story and question for me.

Mary told me how she had been out of work and down to her last $43. Driving to a job interview she saw a woman holding a baby and a sign that said, "Baby needs doctor, please help." Being soft-hearted, she pulled over to the woman, reached into her purse and handed her $2. Driving away, in the rear view mirror, Mary could see the woman clasping her hands and shouting, "Thank you, thank you, thank the Lord."

She thought, “Wow, a lousy two bucks makes her so happy,” and she felt good about having given it to her, even though her funds were low. When she arrived at her interview, she discovered that she had given the woman two twenties. Now she only had $3 left. She was kicking herself and couldn't believe she had given away her last $40. The next day she got the job at theEnchanted Garden.

I encouraged her not to be upset about the money and never regret acts of kindness; perhaps the woman needed that exact amount for the doctor, and she may have been praying for it. Mary may have been the answer to her prayer. That one Random Act of Kindness could have changed a life. “That's a good way to look at it,” said Mary.

I excused myself and headed for the ladies room. I heard in my head, "Give her back the money." I protested that I did not get paid for two more days, and I wasn't even sure if I had that much in my bank account. My inner voice was insistent, so I wrote a check for $50, a little more than she had given, and wrote “prosperity through generosity” at the bottom. I asked the regular waitress to give it to Mary after I left.

That made me wonder about my bank account. I did not want a bounced check to ruin the gesture. When I balanced my checkbook, I found an extra $500 I could not account for anywhere in my deposits, and all the checks had cleared the account. Suddenly, I had 10 times what I had just given away. Although it was pretty unbelievable, it was a major sign for me, and a huge lesson about living my belief of prosperity through generosity, but the biggest lesson was yet to come.

A month later I received a letter from Mary. She said, "I don't know if you remember me, but I just wanted to tell you that I never cashed your $50 check. Money started pouring in from all directions. I was so moved by your generosity that I framed the check and put it on my wall, and whenever anyone comes into my home, I tell them the story of your generosity. Thank you for that."

In that moment, I realized I was being shown how so many people were being affected by that single gesture. I will never know exactly how many people have been moved by that story, but for me, the lesson was a much better reward than $500. We don't always get to know their effects, but our Random Acts of Kindness ripple out into the world and create all kinds of abundance, and it comes back in many forms. The best rewards are not always in cash. It still gives me chills and brings a tear to my eye when I tell that story.  


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