Within the past 72 hours, I’ve been blessed to say that to two individuals that I’ve helped and it’s been the most AMAZING experience. On Saturday, I joined my girlfriend Ashley, her mom, aunt, and another family friend at The Glass Slipper Project. The Glass Slipper Project provides prom gowns to high school girls who might not be able to afford them due to financial circumstances. Actually, let me correct myself. The Glass Slipper Project provides a gown, shoes, a handbag, accessories, and even makeup for the girls.
I had the pleasure of being the personal shopper for Miss T. After 3 trips to the dressing room and 10 gowns later, we found a gown that she loved and felt amazing in…Score! Moving on to shoes, she found a pair of heels that wouldn’t cramp her style and (of course) matched her dress. After we conquered accessories and makeup, our time together was up. I’m not going to lie…I kind of wished that the day would continue on forever. Or at least the feeling. We spent over an hour together, and for that hour, NOTHING else mattered. It was all about helping her get dressed for a night that she would hopefully remember forever.
As we hugged goodbye, she said “It was fun hanging with you. Thank you!” My response…”No. Thank You!”
Fast forward to yesterday… While strolling to Kinko’s, I was approached by a woman, Miss Rose, who told me that she was just laid off and that she needed food to feed her children at home. As her voice cracked while explaining her situation, something in my spirit whispered to me, “Do this.” As we were walked to the neighborhood convenience store, she told me about her oldest daughter, a freshman in high school, who was celebrating her birthday on that day.
“Mom, I know you’re waiting for your unemployment, but do you think that you could bake a cake for me today?” the daughter asked earlier that morning.
“When she told me that this morning, I just broke out in tears,” Miss Rose told me.
As Rose continued to talk, I felt a lump forming in my throat. As the daughter of a mother who often had to choose medication over clothes, or who had to scrounge up dollars for our school field trips, I was familiar with the tears of a mother who wished that she could do just a little more, give just a little more.
When Rose and I arrived at the store, she asked if I could just get her a can of chili for the kids. “Absolutely. And, don’t forget the supplies for the birthday cake,” I replied. After our mini-shopping treat was complete, we walked back outside and I gave her an extra umbrella for her walk back home and two hugs.
She said “Thank you.”
I replied, “No, thank you.”
In both of those experiences, I don’t know who was more grateful. Me or them. Giving is not just a transaction of dollars or products. It is a demonstration of the human spirit. As we continue to hear stories of our neighbors, our friends, or even strangers going through hard times, none of us can afford to act like we’re living in a bubble.
While some would say that the emotion tied to both of my experiences is directly related to my past and how I grew up, I have to say that it’s more than that. These interactions reminded me why I love to give. It’s because I’ve been the recipient of kindness and my donations are the price I pay to be alive. There’s no other way to describe it.