Sep 15, 2010

The Balloonwalah

One evening my one year old son and I stopped by at a restaurant for coffee and refreshments. Right besides our table was another family with a beautiful baby girl in the mother’s arms. Between our meal the father rose from his seat and fetched a colourful balloon for his daughter without realizing the effect it could have on my son. And how was he to blame? He was focused on making his daughter happy.

At the sight of that beautiful big red balloon my son was very excited and began jumping towards it. The baby girl began to cry so I had to leave my coffee half way and leave our table to fetch a balloon for my son too. Unfortunately by the time I’d reached outside the restaurant the Ballonwalla had already left. And there was no other balloon seller in sight.

I returned with my son a little disappointed and my son was mighty disheartened. And just as we returned to our table the little girl managed to poke a nail into the balloon and there was a big bang. Now there were two babies crying for the balloon.

I soon realized that all this commotion had an audience. A tall guy from one of the neighbouring tables was watching the scene. He rose from his seat and headed for the exit. I could see him pacing up and down the footpath of the street outside as if in search for someone. He too returned with a dejected look. The little girl’s family paid up their bill and left. Soon the tall guy and his friend left too. I remained seated, trying to coax my son into forgetting the balloon and finishing his meal but all was in vain.

I had given up! I just couldn’t make him forget the big red balloon. Kids can be so stubborn and reasoning with them is impossible at times. I was saddened that I’d failed to make my son happy. Just when I was about to request the waiter to parcel off the food so my son could finish it later at home, something happened. I saw my son had begun to giggle with happiness suddenly. I couldn’t believe my eyes. He was holding a big red balloon in his hands.

I turned to see that the same tall guy had returned. And this time he had come back with a big red balloon for my son. Both their faces were aglow, my son’s and his. My little one year old had just got what he was desperately wanting. The big drops of tears had immediately stopped rolling off my son;s cheeks and wetting my shoulders. The tall guy’s face was flushed with happiness. He wasn’t looking at me or dint wait for my Thankyou’s. He shook hands with my little one and stood watching him for just a moment. I was tongue-tied at such a selfless gesture. When I began to gush with gratitude he had already turned and walked half way down the aisle, out.

I wonder how it must feel to do a random act of kindness like that and revel in that fulfilling happiness of having made some other soul happy. Without a second thought, without any expectations, without any direct benefit that tall guy had done what only an angel could have done for me at that moment. He had touched two lives in an instant.

This nameless person whose face I’ll never forget, gave me a lesson of a lifetime , to be more giving, more selfless. One random act of kindness can not only make another happy but also give you this feeling from within that life is worthwhile!

It reminds me of these beautiful words….

Have you had a kindness shown?
Pass it on;
'Twas not given for thee alone,
Pass it on;
Let it travel down the years,
Let it wipe another's tears,
'Til in Heaven the deed appears -
Pass it on.

~Henry Burton, Pass It On
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