Friday, June 13, 2008

Go Ahead, Make My Day

This is an eventful month for my husband since both Father's Day and his birthday fall in June. Because of this, you'd think I'd be a little more on top of things. But, no. As of this morning, I hadn't done any birthday/Father's Day shopping. So, this morning, I gathered the kids, and off we went.

My 9-year-old son has been working hard to save enough money to buy something special for his dad. He finally managed to accumulate $8 - enough to get something for dad and something for himself. So, he packed his wallet, eager to find the perfect gift.

I know you're wondering what this has to do with books, but I'm getting there ...

Our first stop was Borders. As I mentioned, my son had carefully plotted out how to use his money most efficiently. What he didn't count on was finding the exact airplane book he had been wanting - on clearance, no less. The problem? The book cost $5.99, which would leave him with less than $2 to buy a gift for Dad. After seriously considering the problem (for at least 5 minutes), he decided to purchase the book "because Dad likes airplanes too, so we can share it." When we got up to the checkout, he got a very pleasant surprise - the cashier was holding up a gift card. She explained that the woman who had been in line before us hadn't used all of the money on her card, so she instructed the cashier to let us use it. I was astounded. I hadn't been paying attention, so I couldn't even tell you what this Good Samaritan looked like. My son's eyes lit up when the cashier told him the card had $5.60 on it - that meant he could buy the book and still have enough left over to buy something good for his dad. I wish I could have thanked the sweet lady, but she was long gone by this point. Needless to say, she really brightened our day.

Since a kind lady made my son's day, I thought I should pay it forward and make someone else's day. So, I'm giving away a brand-spankin'-new copy of Hattie Big Sky by Kirby Larson. This YA novel features a young woman in the 1940s who moves from Iowa to Montana to prove up on her uncle's homestead. It's a fun, clean adventure story that I thoroughly enjoyed (you can read my review here). My 93-year-old grandma liked it as well, which proves it's a story that will appeal to readers of all ages.

To enter the giveaway, make a comment on this post. Just to cheer us all up (my husband swears the world's coming to an end what with all the wars, tornadoes, floods, sky-high gas prices, etc.), I'd like each of you to tell about a time when someone made your day or a way in which you/your family made someone else's day. That's it. I will choose a name at random on the evening of June 22nd (my half-birthday!). Good luck. Oh, I can ship overseas, if necessary.

Just for fun, I'll tell you about a RAOK my family used to perform:

I grew up in a tiny town on the Washington side of the Columbia River. Our town didn't have much in the way of shopping or entertainment, so we often drove over to Oregon to go to movies, eat out, buy groceries, etc. Crossing the river involved driving over a big, green toll bridge. At the time, it cost 50 cents each way. Most residents of our town - including us - made the trip daily, so we would often pass people we knew. If my parents recognized the driver behind us, they always paid the toll for them. It was fun to watch their surprised reactions in the rearview mirror. As my siblings and I started driving, we carried on the tradition. Paying for people we knew was fun, but it was an even bigger kick to pay for strangers (especially if they were goodlooking guys)! Hopefully, the recipients of our RAOKs passed on this simple, day-making tradition.

19 comments:

  1. As someone who worked at Borders for 7 years I can tell you, that was quite nice of your good Samaritan! I've seen it happen many times, but usually for a giftcard of under a dollar. One of our cashiers had an older lady who would give him gifts out of the blue, like boxes of candy and homemade cookies and one time even a giftcard for a restaurant. He never found out why she liked him and bought him presents, other than he was just a likable person - very friendly and talkative.

    You don't have to enter me in your contest - I have too many books on my TBR list already. I just wanted to comment :)

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  2. I would love to be entered into this contest. I read Hattie Big Sky and loved it, but it was a library copy. I would love to add this one to my own personal library.

    About six months ago, me, my husband, my two kids, my sister and three of her kids were all eating at a Indian buffet. Usually buffets you pay up front but this one gives you the bill afterwards. When we went to the register, we were told that another table had already paid for all of us! We were astounded. It made our day.

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  3. Love your blog! I just found it a few days ago and linked to it. And yay for contests! Here's the coolest RAOK anyone ever did for our family. When I was little (maybe 6) we bought a house in a new neighborhood. My dad was really ill with cancer at the time (ultimately he made it), and he was frail and weak. Every Sunday we would come home and discover that our lawn had been mowed. No one would ever fess up to it, but months later we came home early one day and found our neighbor's teenaged son just finishing the job. That was pretty cool!

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  4. Interesting post!! I already know that my kids plan to a special gift for me on father's day..

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  5. What an absolutely lovely story!! Although I did have a moments pause in order to work out what RAOK meant!!

    I actually tried to commit a RAOK yesterday when I saw a Mum struggling with a buggy and several carrier bags, but she said that she was fine and wasn't going far! (it doesn't always work!!)

    The book sounds interesting, I love pioneer stories (and loved These is my words too) so I wanna win!! ;-)

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  6. ooo, I want to enter. I've heard awesome stuff about Hattie Big Sky and have mentally marked as a book to look into at the library.

    So, sign me up for the contest!

    :)

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  7. One day I was walking in the grocery store when the pay phone rang. The caller asked for Julio. I looked out in the parking lot and saw a young man with the hood of his car up and yelled and asked if he was Julio. He came to the phone. I asked him what was wrong and he said that his car's battery was dead. I went out with him and gave him a jump. Nothing grand, but he said he had been there about an hour and no one had offered to help him.

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  8. By the way, here's my blogger profile. Mary Ann

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  9. Loved your story.
    Heres a story my mother in law likes to tell. When her kids were young (5 boys) they took them to a nice restaurant. They sat them near an elderly couple. After their meal was over the couple came and told my in-laws that they had never seen such well behaved children. And they wanted to pay for their meal. My in laws were so grateful because going out was a real treat for them.
    I loved Hattie Big Sky but I have no room for books so please dont enter me.

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  10. I uh, totally forgot to post a random act of selfless kindness story! Eeek! Sorry about that. The only one I can think of off the top of my head is that some of my apartment neighbors helped me carry in a huge load of groceries. It was really nice because we live three flights of stairs up, and my husband was gone and couldn't help me. So, they helped me with my groceries. It was a nice, simple thing to do. :)

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  11. No one deserves a RAOK more than TJ. I'll bet it made his day. Perhaps your husband will remember this story. On one of our trips to California years back, we stopped at IHOP to eat, but not just any IHOP. It was the IHOP where your FIL had worked as a youth flipping pancakes. He made a point of talking to the manager and asking about other employees. When the bill came, it said, "No charge." The kids were pretty impressed.

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  12. Hey, you don't have to enter me ( unless you really want too lol) but I have to tell you, that with a husband deployed a lot, random acts of kindness are so appreciated. At our townhouse in Norfolk, we had to do all the lawn care in the back. Well I have never mowed a lawn in my life, but they were going to charge me $50 if they had to do it. I was complaining to my friend on the phone, and a few minutes later,I heard a lawn mower. At first I thought it was the neighbors. It wasn't. It was my friend's husband out mowing the lawn. He came in the back fence, mowed and left. Didn't even give me a chance to say thank you. It was very sweet.

    And lucky TJ!

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  13. A few years ago my mom came home in tears because she'd learned that a co-worker's husband had left...and there would be no Christmas for Mary and the children.

    We went out and bought toys, coloring books and crayons, and books (I HAVE to give a child a book for every occasion. We bought bath salts and a warm, beautiful robe for Mary. We bought groceries.

    We wrapped everything up and labeled all of it "from Santa"...left it on their porch, rang the bell and ran away.

    I always thought my mom was pretty special. That night just confirmed it, full and overflowing; we didn't care if we had a lot less to do with for our own Christmas...elfing was much more fun.

    Beth

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  14. I have never read Hattie Big Sky, but it sounds great, so add me to the drawing!
    I don't know how random of an act of kindness this is, but the day we moved into our new house about nine years ago, someone broke in and stole our computer, TV, etc. while we were cleaning out our apartment. Some people at church collected some money and bought us a television. (They must have known about my Ally McBeal addiction!)

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  15. I don't know that this qualifies as random.

    We got a lot of snow this winter. So much so that my poor little car had a tendency to get stuck. One morning at about 7:00 as I was trying to dig my car out of the snow/ice, someone from down the street heard my pathetic attempts and came to my rescue. He simply brought his shovel, dug me out, and made sure I could get going. It probably would have taken me an hour to do what he did in about 15 minutes.

    I would love to be entered. This is one on my TBR list

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  16. I'd love to be entered to win. I loved Hattie Big Sky. But alas it was a library copy :)

    As far as Random Acts of Kindness...earlier this year...like in January...someone noticed that I had Sweet Far Thing by Libba Bray on my wishlist and sent me a copy that they'd just read. So that was nice and completely unexpected.

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  17. Kirby Larson will be on blog tour September 21-27, 2008. Please contact me if you are interested in interviewing her!

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  18. For Kirby's blog tour - michele@provatomarketing.com

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  19. Michele - I'd love to interview Kirby. I'll email you right now. Thanks!

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