One evening last summer, shortly after Kayla's birthday, a tricked-out ice cream ding-a-linged its way down our street.
A few moments later, our doorbell rang and on our front porch stood the ice cream man with a bomb pop in his hand.
"Here's a free ice cream for whoever just had a birthday," he said, handing me the popsicle and gesturing toward the bouqet of mylar and latex balloons that had been floating in our living room in front of our large front picture window.
"Really?" I asked, astonished at the personal touch this guy was adding to his business.
"Yep...I noticed the balloons as I drove by. I like to give free ice cream on birthdays."
"Well, thanks, it was my daughter's birthday last week," I replied with a smile.
"Tell her I said Happy Birthday. Have a great evening." And with that he hopped into his tricked out truck and continued on his route.
After Aaron and I concluded that he probably wasn't some weirdo trying to poison our daughter, since he did have a very memorable truck that could easily be identified and valid license plates, we let her eat it. She was so excited that the ice cream man knew it was her birthday and came especially to our door to give her a treat.
I was really impressed with that ice cream man.
Last night, on the news, we watched a story about a man who had his ice cream truck carjacked at knifepoint last week at Butcher Park in Warren. The perpetrators (I have always wanted to use that word)tied him to a pavilion at the park and took off with his truck. They interviewed the ice cream man and I realized it was the same guy from my porch last summer. Then the news program showed a picture of the tricked out truck to confirm to me that is was the same guy.
I'm really saddened by this. My heart really goes out to this guy and I wish I could do something for him. (My husband says that sometimes its the weirdest things that get me emotional. Its true. I have an odd sense of empathy at times.)
Anyway, I guess what this whole thing has taught me is that we never really know how a small kind gesture on our parts will affect someone else. The ice cream man has inspired me to not be so wrapped up in my life that I forget to do something nice for someone today.