To be honest, sometimes I have a hard time getting in the mood. While I love Thanksgiving, Christmas and holidays in general, there have been some discouraging doozies in the past.
Anywhere from powering through a party while completely hopped up on cold medication to some jerk jumping up and down on the hood of my car in a Best Buy parking lot—people tend to lose their shit around the ‘Season of Giving’, am I right?
So, let’s sit back with a cup of something soothing, put on some cozy slippers and get all up in our feels. Cheers to sincerity. Here, here to the sweetest acts of kindness. Cin, cin to that which is centered around love and intrinsic values as opposed to splashy, sponsored events. And here’s to a story about a Philadelphia family, a concerned community and a pair of clippers, Thanksgiving 2022.
Fact is, there’s never really a good time to go through hard times. Dad? Hours had been cut at work. Mom? Just diagnosed with breast cancer. This holiday would truly challenge an already financially fragile family’s love, faith and hope.
The 14-year-old boy in the family, let’s call him Jordan, sat in his room crying. With tears carrying little to no currency, Jordan put it on himself to get his family through the holidays. And add cheer, if possible.
Head in his hands, he could think of nothing to barter or sell. Until lightning struck! He cleared eyes, stood and took a deep breath with his fingers locked, hands on his head. The memory of a schoolmate showing up to class with a bald patch behind his right ear due to a wrong turn with a pair of hair trimmers made him smile–again.
That was it. All the kids found it hilarious. Jordan thought to himself, “Maybe I can make everyone laugh and bring some of that joy back home to my family for a happy Thanksgiving together.” So off he went.
He hit the bathroom, grabbed his dad’s trimmers and worked the neighborhood all evening. The plan was simple. It would be a comical, feel-good nod to his friend’s clipper debacle.
From door to door, shop to shop, he offered to let people shave a part of his head in exchange for a holiday donation of their choice. A neighborhood of modest means, people not only understood but embraced the boy’s holiday ploy.
By day’s end the teen raised about ten times the amount he had hoped. Neighbor after neighbor, people were touched by his story. So much so that Jordan returned home short on hair and long on money.
Jordan raised eyebrows, spirits, hope and fourteen hundred dollars in donations.
OK. Good start. Are we feeling a little of our inner grinch melt yet? Let’s keep going…
Pushing through the revolving door, Jack ran through the rain trying to forget an especially brutal day at work. Literally, nothing had gone right this day. Stomach empty from skipping lunch, he flipped the wipers and lights to counter the now heavy downpour.
Buckling up over soaked clothes, he decided all he needed was to get home to his wife, grab a hot meal, an even hotter shower and just put this day behind him.
Just as he was nearing the exit ramp near his cul-de-sac, Jack spotted someone trying to fix a flat tire in the rain. Frigid, he didn’t want to stop. He didn’t want to help. The 6 second internal dialog of his ‘good guy’ vs. ‘bad guy’ argument felt like a 6-year battle royale. Deep down, Jack knew he had to stop and help. Especially when he realized the person was older. Maybe even too old to be out there.
He pulled onto the shoulder, punched the flashers on, sighed heavily and jumped out of the comfort of his car to offer the stranger help. As he walked towards the older gentleman, he noticed that the man’s wife sat crying in the passenger seat. The situation was overwhelming. The older woman had been taken by despair.
It was at that point that Jack immediately felt warmer. He was glad he had stopped. Jack believed he would hate for his wife to be this worried about him and he hoped someone might do the same for the two of them if they ever found themselves past their prime and in the same situation.
When Jack leaned down to assist the gentleman, he was struck by a bolt of surprise. The rain whipped. He knew this man. The older man was once a fireman. A hero, in fact. What are the chances?
This was the same man that had saved Jack and his family over fifteen years ago. The same man that had pulled everyone in Jack’s family out of a second story bedroom window in the heat of a raging fire.
Ashamed he almost didn’t stop, Jack worked hard. The two men went about the business of switching the tire and securing the spare in silence. Both men shared the irony and emotion of the moment. Both men held back tears. Both men realized that sometimes life puts people in your path for a good reason.
They exchanged a long hug, thanked each other and made it home safe where they shared the full story with their wives.
Although Sandra, her husband Brett and Shelby, their four-year-old Akita pup were happy, they wanted to fill their Southern California home with the sounds and soul of children.
Unsuccessful, they tried for years before getting pregnant. Finally! Sandra, Brett and the gorgeous, but protective, Shelby found themselves over the moon.
From the moment Sandra became a mom-to-be, the dog stayed by her side. Shelby became even more attentive, sleeping right up against Sandra every night, even nuzzling and snuggling Sandra’s belly before nodding off.
One day, Sandra started to experience a mild pain in her lower stomach area. She pushed through it for a few days before calling the doctor. The doctor told her not to worry. He believed the discomfort was from carrying the baby very low.
Shelby’s behavior became odd. She followed the mom-to-be everywhere she went, leaning against her legs to the point of pushy. Shelby even whimpered regularly, standing watch over Sandra as she slept night after night.
Sandra brought up the dog’s strange behavior during a phone call with her mom. Sandra’s mother, a huge dog-lover who had gifted Shelby from her own momma pup, immediately became upset and said, “That dog is trying to tell you something, Darlin’. She knows what you don’t know. Get to the doctor right away and don’t take no for an answer!”
Although Sandra felt her mom was overreacting, she decided to go in for a check-up. To the family’s dismay, Sandra had a dangerous bladder infection that had already started to affect the unborn child.
The doctor shared that he was glad Sandra was so persistent. And that an infection this serious could have been fatal to the child. As the doctor continued to praise Sandra’s vigilance, she interrupted him to share that it was her dog, Shelby, that had raised awareness and moved her into action. A real lifesaver.
Today, Shelby is part of an ever-growing and ever-loving family and Sandra feels even closer to Shelby than ever before. The insight, the care and the vigilance—it’s as if her mom sent a part of herself along with the pup.
Dog stories???? Oh gosh, there goes my cold, Grinch heart. It’s melting all over my desk. I’m a goner.
Well, that did the trick! I’m feeling festive, even put up the Christmas tree. Can you help me keep up the holiday spirit? Please share your heartwarming stories with me to help me get through the season!
When your family, the airline, gas prices or the news start to get your inner Ebenezer Scrooge rearing his nasty head, I hope you can think back to these stories and turn the bitter into better.