The little boy glanced up and saw an old lady struggling to juggle her two large bags of groceries. He looked at his momma, who nodded her head, then he rushed over to the lady and asked her if he could help.
“Why, thank you young man. What a sweet boy you are,” beamed the old lady.
After they put the grocery bags into her trunk, she turned to the little boy and said, “Your generosity and helpfulness have earned you this token. Come back and see me after you collect ten of these tokens and you will get a special prize.”
The little boy didn’t expect any sort of payment because his momma taught him to do the right thing just because it’s the right thing to do. She said a smile from a grateful person is worth its weight in gold. However, he was delighted to get the token and daydreamed the whole way home about the prize that awaited him.
As the next couple weeks went by, he noticed that the people who carried tokens to give to helpful children wore a yellow flower pin on their collars. The pins were small, but the boy grew able to spot them a long distance away. He sprinted to be the first person to help someone with a yellow flower pin, whether he was again at the grocery store, at church, at school, or even walking down Main Street.
The little boy’s momma was pleased with her son’s helpfulness. Their family had always valued the Golden Rule of, “doing unto others as you would have done unto you.” She was hopeful that the tokens he treasured weren’t becoming the sole reason for his good deeds. Momma knew that her boy would not be given tokens for his good deeds when he was a grown up. She earns the same paycheck as her grumpy co-worker.
One day, the little boy counted up his tokens and was surprised to discover that he had collected nine. He needed just one more before he could turn them in for that long-awaited prize. Oh boy! He felt like he was going to burst with excitement.
That same day, he went to the grocery store with momma again. As they exited the store with their bags, the boy scanned the parking lot for yellow flower pins. He saw two people heading to their cars. One was an old man who looked like he was about to drop one of his heavy bags. The other was a woman carrying just one bag. He didn’t even see the old man as he spotted the yellow pin on the woman. He knew today would be the day he got that tenth token.
The boy didn’t look for his mom’s permission before running over to the lady. He asked her if she needed help, and she shrugged her shoulders and handed the boy her bag. After the bag was placed in her car, she thanked the little boy and got in her car and left. He stood there in disbelief.
He couldn’t believe that he didn’t get anything for his helpfulness. He scowled and kicked at the ground as he went back to his mother. He never looked up to see that the old man who was struggling with his bags had actually dropped one of them, spilling groceries, cans rolling all over the parking lot.
The boy wouldn’t give up his quest for his tenth token, and he did receive it that week. In anticipation he could barely contain, he gathered up his tokens and headed to the house of the old woman.
The old woman greeted him at the door with a smile and led him to a wooden chest. The boy was wide-eyed as she opened it. However, his grin turned into a frown quickly as he looked over the prizes. These were just trinkets, silly little toys that he could get from the dentist after getting his teeth cleaned. He had waited all this time and helped all those people for this junk?
He was too polite to say any of this to the woman, so he took one of the trinkets and walked home discouraged.
“I am never ever gonna help anyone again if all I get as a reward is junk!” the boy said to himself as he threw his prize on the table in his own house.
Momma saw his discouragement and anger and went to stand next to her little man, wrapping her arm around his shoulders. She whispered in his ear something he will never forget.
“The swell of joy in your heart as your kindness spreads a smile across someone’s face is the best reward in the world. It beats any trinket or even any paycheck. Kindness freely given builds people up and creates bridges across continents of sadness. Yours is a kind soul, and you need no prize other than the pride you feel by making someone’s day.”
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