A Woman's Voice

MEMORY LANE ~ Having a Bad Day ~ September 29, 2011 by Dolores Ayotte

Posted in MEMORY LANE by doloresayotte on September 29, 2011
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I want to share a cute little story with you to demonstrate how simple it is to turn your life around one step at a time.  Many years ago when I was working downtown in a major mall, oftentimes, I would go shopping during my lunch hour.  This mall consisted of many businesses, retail stores, restaurants, and pretty well everything working people might want at their fingertips.

This particular day, I was having one of my “off” days. We all have these kinds of days now and again, but this one was particularly bad.  I decided I would go walking in the mall because I wasn’t what one might consider to be “good company” in this rather foul mood of mine.

As I was walking along, I was wondering what I could do to cheer myself up and make for a better day.  When I finally reached a section of the mall that had an outside door, I noticed a somewhat bedraggled man sifting through the sand in one of the big ashtrays near the door.  There was no smoking allowed in this huge underground mall so anyone that came through the door had to “butt out”.

It was obvious to me that this poor man was searching for the longest butts in the ashtray so he could have a few good puffs.  By the way he was dressed and by his actions, it was apparent to me he could not afford to buy his own cigarettes. Just looking at him and what he was doing made me forget all about my woes and my bad day.

As I focused on him a light bulb went on in my head and I decided to do a good deed.  I went up to him and gently asked him to wait right where he was standing.  He looked up at me and nodded his head in agreement.

I turned around and went into a nearby drugstore and bought a large package of cigarettes and some matches.  This was a time when smoking wasn’t as frowned upon as it is today. After purchasing the cigarettes, I quickly walked back to where the man was standing and handed him my recent purchase, receipt and all.  I didn’t want anyone to think he had stolen the cigarettes should he be seen with them.  I suggested that he enjoy his gift and perhaps share them with some of his friends.  He was very pleased, but what he said after that, changed my mood for the day and many days afterward.

This was a Monday, and Mondays can be kind of blue at times, just as it was for me that day.  When this less fortunate man thanked me for the cigarettes, he quickly added, “What are you doing next Monday?”  I almost laughed out loud because I found his question so surprising and somewhat amusing. He completely caught me off guard. He was planning on meeting me there as often as possible, perhaps every Monday if I was willing.  It was such a cute response.  I couldn’t help but smile at him, as I told him that this was just a spontaneous, one time occurrence and I just wanted to make his day.

In essence the exact opposite thing happened, he made mine instead.  By reaching out to someone with a greater need than my own and giving in such a small way, it made me realize that it truly is better to give than receive.  I was given so much that precious day because even after all these years, it still brings a smile to my face.  By doing what I did, I discovered that “no one is in charge of your happiness but you”. (Regina Brett)

This little story reminded me of how fortunate I really was and how by going out of my way to make a less fortunate person have a good day, it actually ended up creating a better one for me.  You really cannot give away a kindness in life.

The pleasure that this man had on his face was a hugely rewarding experience.  He was very grateful and he thanked me for my kindness but it was me who should have been thanking him for getting me out of my own funk.  He was the one being kind because he made me smile and brought so much happiness back into to my life that blue Monday by showing his gratefulness.



You may be dead broke and that’s a reality, but in spirit you may be brimming over with optimism, joy, and energy. The reality of your life may result from many outside factors, none of which you have control. Your attitudes, however, reflect the ways in which you evaluate what is happening.”  (H. Stanley Judd)



7 Responses to 'MEMORY LANE ~ Having a Bad Day ~ September 29, 2011 by Dolores Ayotte'

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  1. Such a good example of how in life
    we can receive so much more when we give, not expecting to receive something back. Volunteer to help out at a downtown mission or soup kitchen, and feel the gift of giving, there is nothing like it!
    The blessings are overflowing…

  2. Mary Haskett said,

    Hi Dolores,
    Quite a story! I believe you went with the prompting of the Spirit, and the Lord blessed you with His joy.

  3. Audra Krell said,

    So many would have chosen to not support a bad habit, I love that you made his day and gave from your heart.

  4. hope_rising said,

    I just found this blog. I am really enjoying the stories. I will for sure be back!

    • I would like to thank all of you for your new or continued support. It is gratefully appreciated! 🙂

  5. Lorraine Gauthier said,

    That is a true act of kindness and as you have said before you can never give away a kindness because it comes back tenfold.Something similar happened to me probably in the same area. I was having supper in the concourse in downtown Winnipeg when I noticed 2 men looking thru the garbage. I felt so guilty that I was having a meal and here 2 were looking for scraps. I went to them and asked if I could buy them a meal.They were in shock. I told the clerk to prepare 2 meals for these gentlemen.I would pay the bill. The clerk was NOW in shock he did not think I should be doing this.
    These 2 men sat down and truly enjoyed their food. In a few minutes a lady joined them and it did not seem like they wanted to share. She appeared very hungry as well. I called to them and asked if she wanted one too. In a few minutes she had a meal as well. This was less than $20.00. How wonderful it was for them to have food but more important how wonderful it was for me to know I was doing God’s work.We so easily can spend $20.00 on nonsense. This was the best $20.00 I have ever spent. I can still see the smiles on their faces!!! You can never give away a kindness!!!

    • Lorraine…it’s kind of neat that we did such similar acts of kindness in the exact same location, so many years ago.

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