There are stories on the internet that (and this will shock you) I sometimes doubt are true. And they are not the obvious ‘fake news’ ones. They are the ones that are just a little too sweet, have the moral tied up just a little too tightly. It’s not that I have anything against them. I am an English major; I am a strong believer in the power of literature. So, for me, a fiction can serve as good a purpose as a true story. But as someone who works in a library, I always feel the need to check the facts.
So I’m not going to share this story as if it’s true, although I wish and hope it is. Because true or not, we can all learn to be a bit better from its lesson.
A student was standing in line to pay for his books at a bookstore close to a college campus. There was an elderly woman standing behind him who came up to the counter and said to the clerk, “I want to pay for all his books.”
The student protested. But the woman insisted. She even added some treats.
Grateful to the point of tears, the student leaves. The woman turns to the clerk and says you never know the unintentional wrongs you’ve done in your life. So whenever you have a chance to make up for one of them, you should do so.
There’s more to the story, but, for me, the point was already made. If you are reading this, you are probably try to be a good person every day. But because you’re human, you mess up, and you might not even notice it. There’s the joke that hurts someone’s feelings, but you were too busy laughing. There was the person who really needed help, but you were just too busy that day. Or the friend who could have used encouragement, but “OH MY GOSH, I am slammed under all these projects.”
We’ve all heard about paying it forward, which is a wonderful thing. But sometimes, we need to pay for those little arrows that we shot and didn’t even realize that our aim hit a mark.