I was delighted. I was humbled. I was inspired.
On Monday night, December 30th, my wife, Laura, and our college-aged son, Reece, enjoyed a meal at our local Mexican restaurant in Lonoke. The small restaurant, Mariachi Grill, sits next to I-40 and is frequented by our family. Evidently, our familiarity with the tasty food was apparent.
As we were finishing up and leaving, a couple stopped me to ask for a menu suggestion.
After sharing our favorite dishes, our conversation turned and they began to tell me their reason for passing through our small Lonoke town of 4,000. They were traveling back to their home in Nashville, Tennessee after coordinating the care of the husband’s 90-year-old mother in Dallas. They chose to spend the night in Lonoke as they were going to visit Rose City, a community on the east side of North Little Rock. Within minutes, we realized that the wife had grown up right next to the church where my grandparents had attended so many years ago.
I told her of another Dallas resident from Rose City, NFL Cowboys owner Jerry Jones. That bit of unknown trivia delighted her. She was looking forward to reminiscing as she visited the community where she had spent part of her childhood. They had stopped to spend the night in Lonoke so their drive to Rose City would be short the next morning.
It was an easy and enjoyable conversation. So easy that they asked if I was a politician. I chuckled and said, “Well, I am on the Lonoke City Board. Is that considered a politician?”
Our conversation then took another turn.
I was delighted to share House of Three with them and of our work in creating homes where our aged residents are able to receive the compassionate care and enjoyment of living in a neighborhood home.
The wife turned to her husband and said, “Take that one hundred dollar bill out of your pocket and give it to this man.”
I was taken aback. I told them that I so appreciated their interest in our concept of aging with respect and intimate care, but discouraged them from giving the money. They were insistent and said that they had created a foundation to allow them to do such acts – to give to “good people.” They said they could tell I was one of those. I was humbled.
As they told me the money could be used by me any way I saw fit, an idea I had never considered began to formulate. At the House of Three, holidays are always celebrated with treats to eat or activities to enjoy, but I had never marked the coming of another year, with the exception of serving the traditional black-eyed peas. Perhaps, this was the year for something new! I told them of my idea. With the one hundred dollars I would purchase champagne for our House of Three family members within the Little Rock homes and all could enjoy some bubbly on New Year’s Eve provided by the “good people” from Nashville. Their gift would bring cheer to five homes as fifteen residents celebrate the entrance of 2020. This generous couple loved the idea!
I do not know if this traveling couple considers themselves to be philanthropists. I definitely consider them to be “good people” who inspire others.
I was inspired. Inspired to make connections with strangers in 2020. Inspired to share stories of the goodness of giving and the acts of thoughtfulness. I am inspired to give, just as they gave to me; as they gave to our House of Three Seniors!