Last year around this time, my 20 year old daughter got to see the ultimate example of the Christmas spirit in action. Up until October of this year, she was a "comp peer" for a 13 year old girl I'll call Becky through the Mildred Berry program in
. It works much like a Big Brothers/Sisters program. Rockford
To my daughter, it meant giving up half of her Saturday or Sunday every week or every other week to go do something with this little girl. They went to a craft show, they went out to movies, visited the library, etc. Sometimes they came back to the house, where Becky would play on the computer, or with our puppy, or watch DVD’s with my daughter.
For Becky's birthday last December, my daughter took her to IHOP for breakfast. As my daughter never has met a stranger, she was chatting with the older gentleman sitting close by, who had overheard my daughter and Becky talking. She was explaining the program to him and the fact that it was Becky’s birthday. Finished, he got up to leave, told them Merry Christmas and walked to the front of the restaurant to pay his check.
A few minutes later, my daughter asked the waitress to bring their check and was extremely surprised to hear that the mysterious gentleman who had been talking to them had very graciously picked up their check. Their benefactor came back to their table to tell Becky to have a happy birthday.
What happened next was truly a Christmas miracle, as he smiled and again opened his wallet to give Becky a crisp $100 bill to spend on her birthday or for Christmas.
It was more money than Becky had ever seen at one time. She was in tears, my daughter was in tears, and even the waitress who had overheard the entire exchange was in tears. A complete stranger had just paid for their breakfast and then gave this disadvantaged little girl $100.
Those two girls will never, ever forget what happened that cold December morning, and neither will I. The Christmas spirit is alive and well, everyone.
ps...They finally did get his name before he left because they wanted to send a thank you note. Being the internet sleuth that I am, (she said modestly) I did a Google search to find the address and found that there was no one by that name in
or the surrounding areas. Rockford
Somehow I was not surprised.