Smiling over my shoulder at my daughter's funny comment, for a split second I took my eye off the road. The light had turned green, so I was preparing to accelerate. My foot was not even on the gas pedal when my car bumped into the stock still bumper in front of me.
I inhaled suddenly and was shocked to realize that despite my car's gentle roll, I probably put a small dent in the fender of an innocent person's car. I put my car in "park" and got out. The traffic near our cars was light and easily moved around to let us sort out the problem. I saw dollar numbers rolling in my head - from the deductible to the possible stretch of a fender replacement.
A woman with long, blondish-brown curly hair stepped out of the car and I expected just anger. I immediately plead guilty as I riffled through my wallet for my insurance card.
She didn't say anything as she walked around the back of the car, surveying the damage. With my outstretched hand holding my proof of insurance, I apologized again.
Smilingly, she tilted her head slightly at me, and said, "Are you kidding me? I have three teenagers. This is nothing compared to what they've done to this car. Don't even worry about it!" Without even giving me her name so I could thank her, she walked back toward her driver's door.
"But..." I struggled to say something. She couldn't just let me off the hook! I hit her. I did it. I was guilty. All I could muster was, "Are you sure?! I'm happy to pay..."
She smiled again. "Really, don't worry about it." And with that, she was gone.
I climbed back into the driver's seat of my car. And I cried...a lot.
"What's the matter, Mommy?" came the concerned voice from the back seat.
"Somebody was just very kind to me, Baby. That's a great gift and I guess I don't feel that very often. I'm so grateful."
As Thanksgiving approaches, I look around at all the good people in the world - all the people defying the 10:00 news by doing lovely, kind things for family, friends and strangers alike. I remember that woman and her smile, and soon after, I begin to notice more of the blessings that surround me daily.
If I open my eyes to it, I see goodness everywhere.
For me, Thanksgiving is a time to remember to offer that kindness forward, so perhaps I can add to someone else's view of goodness in the world.