Just Driving Thru

By Charla Spalluto Misse

After a long day of work one evening, when I was single, living in Virginia and feeling particularly homesick for New Orleans, I went to the drive-thru at Popeye’s.  If you knew me, you would think that was pretty funny since I don’t particularly like fast food.  Still, there I was, ordering fried chicken AND a biscuit!

As I waited in the slow-moving line, I couldn’t help but notice the people in the SUV behind me.  It appeared to be a mom and her pre-teen son engaged in much thoughtful discussion.  Eventually, they seemed to have resolved a problem and hugged for a minute.  The boy’s head was held much higher now, a weight seemingly lifted from his shoulders.

Such a heartwarming example of familial love and support, I wanted to tell them how special they were and how I wished to, one day, be a parent like that.

Because I didn’t want to intrude more than I already had (and couldn’t get out of my car), I decided to pay for their food instead.  The girl at the window was stunned and asked if I knew them.  I said to tell them they looked like a nice family and left before they could see me or my car.

I don’t think I have shared this with anyone before.  It is written that one should do good works in secret, otherwise you have received your recompense.  Yet, I felt such inner joy for years to come. I don’t expect to receive reward for this in heaven.  I have received too great a reward on earth!

Sometimes, I wonder if that mom and son, or even that cashier, ever think about that night.  It continues to fill me with warmth.  Next time you see something you like, don’t be afraid to offer encouragement.  You might just light a spark in someone’s life, maybe in your own.    

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