A Particularly Special Guy’s Night

By Angela Noel

December 1, 2016

One night, a couple of guys went to McDonald’s for dinner. Already, it was a special event.

The younger of the two went to the restroom, emerging just in time for their chicken nuggets and Big Mac to arrive. On his way back to the table, his hands still wet from washing, he noticed something.

An elderly gentleman had dropped a coin on the ground. The young man picked it up, “Here you go,” he said. “You dropped this.”

“Thank you, son.” The gentleman covered the coin with his blue-veined hand, while the young man sat down at the table where his best adult friend, Paul, waited.

Next, the man shuffled over to the table where Paul and seven-year-old Jackson sat. “Okay if I give your son something?” he asked.

“Sure.” Paul had long ago given up explaining that Jackson isn’t technically his son. Love, as you know, makes labels irrelevant.

Into his bag, Santa Claus-style, the fellow pulled out a handmade contraption.

A small kindness. A handmade game. A lesson in goodness.
A small kindness. A handmade game. A lesson in goodness.

Made of wood, scraps of utility carpet, and marble tiles, the rectangular box was a counting game. Two dice completed the gift. With eager words, the man explained the game, flipping the handwritten numbered tiles up and down with each roll. Boy and man played a round or two.

Then, the second grader, chicken nuggets forgotten, looked up at the stranger whose coin he’d found and returned. “Thank you!” he said, smiling his gap-toothed grin.

“You’re welcome.” A smile lit the old man’s eyes and lifted wrinkled, bewhiskered cheeks. Clearly, the coin had been a test with a ready-made reward. But Jackson didn’t know that. He just thought he’d done the right thing and this man was nice. Simple thing really, sharing kindness.

Guy’s nights are always fun for Paul and Jack, but this one was a little bit something more.

Your turn: Have you ever received an unexpected gift? Or given one to someone else?


Author: Angela Noel

On a quest to become a better human, I write about parenting, leadership, and personal development. I tell my stories so you can find your own.

22 thoughts on “A Particularly Special Guy’s Night”

  1. Hi Angela! Our granddaughter Amelia was given that game by the same man at McDonald’s a couple years ago. Forgot all about it. She is having trouble with math right now so thanks for reminding us! Happy holidays!!!

  2. Jackson is that special soul that sees the good and shares it. Both Jack and the gentleman showed kindness and joy in a chance encounter. And both have a story to tell.

    1. So true! I think this fellow makes a point of offering kids like Jackson the opportunity to show kindness, and rewards them when they do. Such simple lessons from community members outside our immediate families are incredible gifts.

  3. Not only do I love it when a stranger gives an unexpected ‘gift’ of a coin or a toy or a smile, I try to be one of those strangers, too. I find that if a small child is sitting in a stroller or in a mom’s lap and just looking around, and I stare into her eyes and give a wide smile, the child lights up like the sunshine on a cloudy day. Lifts me up for the rest of the day. 🙂

    1. I’m so glad to hear you take that extra moment. I think, when I have the chance to have an unexpected encounter with a fellow human, it’s like a gift from the universe. Makes me want to do a little more, be a little kinder, every day.

  4. I really love these types of surprises – or moments – in life. For the moment, everything is right, stress is forgotten, and happiness wins. Spreading happiness is one of the best feelings, isn’t it? Thanks for sharing!

  5. I have a few of these!

    Once I walked past this amaaazing farm on Shikoku island in Japan. The lady there had made quite a few scarecrows with really strong personalities. There was a teenager smoking, an old lady with knitting a mum with a pram etc. They were sooo cool! I could see a lady watching us take photos from the road so I gave her a smile and a wave and told her how much I loved her creations. He whole face sort of lit up and she came over for a chat. Then she made us come inside and eat fresh strawberries!

    All it took was a quick compliment. I feel really lucky to have met such an awesome artist and tasted her gorgeous strawberries too. 🙂

    1. What a fantastic story! Not only is she an artist, but a generous soul. And you taking notice of her work is probably on her list of awesome moments, too. Thank you so much for sharing!

      1. I just looked up the village and it looks like she has made sooo many more! If you’re interested, it looks like it is a bit of a sad story. I must have seen them when they were just getting started (it was back in 2004) http://www.npr.org/sections/parallels/2016/08/26/490687505/a-dying-japanese-village-brought-back-to-life-by-scarecrows

        1. That story is amazing! That woman is incredible. I see this kind of thing and I think: artists are everywhere just looking for a way to bring their unique creations into the world. I absolutely love it. Thank you for sharing!

  6. Sweet story! As a school counselor, I have a caseload of about 350 students (and their parents). One of my parents – I had two of her boys, each for 3 years – frequently traveled to South Africa for business. On one occasion, she brought me a gift – a beautiful, handmade straw basket, big enough to fill up my lap. This meant that not only did she think about me while traveling, she had to carry this large basket all the way home on the airplane! I was moved to tears!

  7. Omg! That was so heart warming!What a sweet story! I once received a Japanese lucky charm from the owner of my favorite restaurant. I have it to this day!

  8. Wow, what a cool story! And I bet no one else has this cool game– a unique and meaningful gift.

    1. And even if they do, the fact that this fellow makes these games with his own hands and seeks out good deeds in order to give them away is such a great example for us all I think. I bet more kindness happens all around me than I even realize. Thanks so much for reading!

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