What’s inside the box? What random act of kindness could be inside?
My box once held two bagels. I looked forward to enjoying their chewy goodness toasted with cheese melted on each half. I had been at a party where they served a nice meal. At the end guests were asked to take the extra food home. I helped myself to the bagels, wrapping them in the time-honored fashion: in a napkin. I slipped them into my bag and boarded the subway home.
The bagels spoke to me from inside my bag. I knew exactly where the bread knife rested at home and saw myself slicing them into halves on my much-scored wooden cutting board. I heard the click of the toaster’s lever as I lowered them down in the slots, adjusting the browning knob to the perfect doneness. Ouch! the hot bagel seared my fingertips as I pulled it from the toaster and popped the halves onto a microwaveable glass plate. Now, which cheese? Yellow cheddar or white Muenster? The cheddar won so the bagel was paved with small slices around the center hole.
My fingers slid over the microwave’s time controls. Too short and the cheese would be solid. Too long and it would be a burning puddle on the plate. How long would be just right? My fingers knew the right setting. Then the microwave buzzed and I opened the door. The gooey cheese puddled perfectly on the platter and steam curled from the surface. All I needed to do was take a bite….
I was savoring the anticipation of my cheesy treat when I heard a voice in the aisle. “Sorry to bother you but I’m homeless and haven’t eaten. If you can spare any change for food I’d appreciate it.” A scruffy-looking man in a soiled army-green coat had entered the car. “God bless,” he intoned as he walked down the aisle with his hat outstretched. He repeated his homeless plea again, humbly.
I knew what I had to do. I waited until he approached my seat then withdrew the bagels in their festive napkin. “Please enjoy this,” I said handing him the bagels. What was the dream of a cheesy bite in the face of a man who had nothing to eat. “God bless you,” he said looking into my eyes.
At that moment, providing a “box of kindness” to this unfortunate man tasted better to me than the most meltingly delicious cheesy snack I could ever prepare.
Some random act of bagels had fed my soul and nourished another, too.