Someone Who Cares

Someone Who Cares

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Thanks Mom

Someone Who Cares

Unselfish and noble actions are the most radiant pages in the biography of souls.
~David Thomas

It was somewhere between spring and summer; just enough sunshine to be warm, but not so much that it was blistering hot.

My mom and I drove through the countryside—windows open, long hair whipping around in the breeze.

We were a long way from home, but it didn’t matter. It was nice to just enjoy each other’s company on the long drive. I was only eight or nine at the time, but this journey from Grandma’s house by the lake back to our own house in the suburban city wasn’t foreign to me.

A pot of flowers sat in the back seat, long ago forgotten by me, even though their heavenly scent filled the car as best as it could amidst the air blowing in through the windows. They didn’t matter to me—they were just something someone had given to my mom.

Suddenly, in the middle of nowhere, my mom pulled over.

“What are you doing?” I asked, fearing that the car had broken down and we’d be stuck there, so far from home.

But that wasn’t the case.

My mom hopped out of the car, grabbing the flowers from the back seat.

“I’ll just be a minute,” she called back through the open windows.

As she walked away, I noticed the humble little building hidden by a hedge just beyond the ditch. My eyes quickly scanned the edge of the road before settling on a little sign, proclaiming that it was a nursing home.

I looked back to the building, utterly confused, as my mom reappeared—empty-handed. She climbed back into the car and we drove away, without a word.

After a mile or two, I spoke.

“Do you know someone there, Mom?”

She absentmindedly shook her head no, checking her rearview mirrors.

“Then what’d you do with the flowers?”

She smiled slightly. “I gave them to the receptionist.”

“Oh,” I thought for a moment. “You gave the receptionist flowers?”

She laughed at my confusion. “No, I gave them to the receptionist to give to someone she thought really needed them, who hasn’t gotten any in a while.”

I sat in silence for a moment, thinking about this, before I spoke again.

“Did you leave your name?”

She answered instantly, “No. The receptionist asked, but I just told her ‘someone who cares.’”

This time, I spoke quickly. “But why?” It had never occurred to me that people could purposefully give gifts without putting their name on them. “How will they thank you?”

My mother smiled again, speaking as though it was the most obvious answer in the world. “Because leaving flowers there for someone who will appreciate them more than we will makes me feel good. Knowing that those flowers will make someone smile is enough of a thank you for me.”

My mom was oblivious to my amazement, as I stared at her in awe for quite a while longer.

For her, it was a simple act that she had done without even thinking.

But for me, it was a memory and lesson that would last for the rest of my life; the greatest gifts not only come from the heart, but are given without any expectations.

~Janelle In’t Veldt

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