Early afternoon on Christmas Eve day was not as frantic or busy as a Trenton couple thought it would be.
When Jack and Peg Jardine set out to pick up some last-minute Christmas gift items that day, they both inwardly groaned at the thought of facing the Christmas rush of shoppers at the mall and the grocery store.
But the day turned out to hold a pleasant surprise that turned their feelings of dread and trepidation into those of gratitude and kindness.
While sitting at a traffic light, they were approached by a stranger who handed them an envelope. Inside the sealed white package was a gift that embodied the true spirit of Christmas.
“We were at the intersection of Munroe Avenue and Stellarton Road waiting for the light to turn green,” Jack explains. “A woman got out of the car behind us and she came up and tapped on my window.”
He chuckled, “I was a little nervous; I thought she may have thought I cut her off in traffic or something.”
But that was not the case.
“I rolled down my window and she just smiled, handed me the envelope and said ‘Merry Christmas.’ Then she returned to her car, the light changed and we drove away.”
The outside of the envelope said: “Merry Christmas. Kind-ness is contagious.”
While Jack drove, Peg opened the envelope to find a $10 bill.
“It was quite a shock,” she said. “We didn’t know what to think, really.”
The couple tried to follow her, but lost track of her vehicle in the traffic. They weren’t quite sure what they’d do if they found her, but they definitely wanted to say thanks.
So they did the only thing they could do, given the circumstances: They passed it on.
They kept the $10 bill but exchanged it for two $5 bills, and passed on the kindness to two other strangers.
Jack gave one to a woman in the parking lot at Sobeys West Side, Peg took her $5 inside the grocery store and passed it on.
“The woman I gave it to gave me a strange look,” Jack said and Peg chimed in, “The woman I handed it to had a huge smile on her face.”
Being able to pay it forward put a smile on the Jardines’ faces and flooded their hearts with warmth and gratitude.
They don’t know who the original donor is. “She was driving a red Jeep-type vehicle,” Jack said.
The fact that the envelope was sealed when she passed it through the driver’s side window tells them that her gesture was premeditated.
They would like her to know how much her kindness touched them at a time of year that is busy and frantic and has people forgetting what the season is all about. It is a Christmas the Jardines will remember for a long time to come, and it is all because of the generosity of a stranger.
Peg and Jack Jardine of Trenton examine the envelope that contained a $10 bill and that was passed to them by a stranger on Christmas Eve day. The couple paid the good deed forward and gave the cash to two other individuals. INSERT: The envelope says “Merry Christmas. Kindness is contagious.” (Jardine photos)
Another random act of kindness
Perhaps the Jardine family is just lucky when it comes to random acts of kindness.
Around Christmastime, Jack and Peg Jardine’s son, Dan Jardine, was at the Highland Square Mall when he was approached by a mother and daughter who handed him a $5 Tim Hortons gift card.
“There was a note about random acts of kindness and they thought I was a worthy recipient because I was selling calendars for Big Brothers Big Sisters and was sitting near the Tim Hortons,” he laughed.
Dan said he was surprised by the gift; it was totally unexpected.
“In the true spirit of kindness, I passed it on to someone else,” he said.
“I looked around until I recognized a lady who had previously bought a calendar to support Big Brothers Big Sisters from me, so I passed it on to her. She was delighted to receive it.”
Have you been fortunate enough to be on the receiving end of an act of kindness? Or have you paid it forward? Contact us with your story! Email firstname.lastname@example.org.