In Faith, Trials on
28 December, 2016

The Kindness of a Stranger



It was December 20, 2016. I was walking around the mall with my cousin, trying to focus on the joy of the Christmas season and get some shopping done. We had just come from a visit with our declining grandfather; we knew his time was coming quickly, but little did we know that visit with him would be our last.

We walked into Macy’s, and I approached the makeup counter. At first I was a little annoyed that no one was there to help me – until a kind voice came from behind me.

“Can I help you with something?”

“Yes please, I’d like to purchase some makeup.”

I proceeded to tell the sweet middle-aged woman what I needed, and while she was searching for my shade of foundation, I got a call from my mom.

“Pap Pap is in heaven,” she said with trembling in her voice.

You see, the nurses said he had 48-72 more hours. I had plans to visit him again the next day, and the day after that, too. When I squeezed his unresponsive hand and said goodbye that afternoon, I didn’t know it would be for the last time.

I was so caught off guard, I didn’t know quite what to say – I could only think that I needed to get off the phone, pay for my things, find my cousin and get to the hospital.

“Okay, um, hold on…I have to call you back. Love you,” I stammered in reply. I hung up the phone. Tears began to stream down my face.

That sweet cashier turned around and said, “Can I get you anything else?”

“No thank you,” I said. “That will be all.”

But before I could finish that last sentence she moved closer to the counter, and with concern asked, “Are you okay, hun?”

“No, not really. That was my mom. My grandpa just died.”

And suddenly, with no warning or hesitation, she joined me on my side of the counter and embraced me with comforting arms.

I don’t know who that woman was. I didn’t even think to ask her name. But her actions in that moment taught me two very important things: 1) the smallest kindness can mean the world to someone, and 2) you never know what someone else is going through, so always extend kindness and grace.

I will miss my Pap Pap every day until we are together in heaven. But I am so thankful he is in no more pain, that he has no more dementia, that he can now walk or run as fast as he desires. He is free and he is praising his Lord Jesus.

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  • Karen

    So beautifully told through your pen. I always enjoyed being around Your Grandpa. He certainly had joy and a contagious smile. I am sorry for your loss.πŸ˜˜πŸ’—πŸ™ Love, Karen

    28 December, 2016 at 8:45 am Reply
    • Jennifer Hope

      Thank you so much, Karen! He definitely loved to spread joy and make us all laugh. He is greatly missed!

      28 December, 2016 at 9:48 am Reply
  • Joan Sayers

    Jen: You are a gifted blogger! Yes…kindness counts. Sorry to hear of your grampa, but as you put it…in heaven he is whole again. No more struggles hear, on earth. Keep his memories alive. God Bless

    28 December, 2016 at 9:08 am Reply
    • Jennifer Hope

      Thank you, Mrs Sayers! I love reading your comments. Always so encouraging.

      28 December, 2016 at 9:49 am Reply
  • Amber Starr

    Oh Jennifer, I’m so sorry for your loss. Sending you much love and comfort. πŸ’—

    28 December, 2016 at 9:46 am Reply
  • lovelyyoubymolly

    Wow. Isn’t that amazing what kind of impact we can have on a stranger. I’m so glad that makeup lady was there for you in the moment you needed.
    I will be praying for you Jen as you adjust to your grandpa being gone. So glad he is in heaven.

    29 December, 2016 at 12:17 am Reply
    • Jennifer Hope

      Thank you so much, Molly! ❀ This experience has taught me so much about going above and beyond when interacting with people I love and even strangers, too.

      29 December, 2016 at 8:37 am Reply
  • Lynn

    Thank you for sharing. So nice to know that kindness is still around. May peace be with you during the loss of your grandpa. My grandmother passed last year around this time.

    29 December, 2016 at 11:32 am Reply
    • Jennifer Hope

      I am a little late to respond, but thank you so much for stopping by and for your encouragement!

      1 May, 2017 at 6:24 pm Reply
  • Emilie

    There is nothing so comforting as the peace that God gives when we lose someone we love. I am so thankful for the promise of Heaven !

    24 January, 2017 at 12:05 pm Reply
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