A Kid, A Tie and a Chocolate Smile

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A few years ago on the steps of the local post office, I was having one of those brutal days…

Too much to do, lines everywhere and perspective a tough sell. The post office was no exception. After about 20-minutes on line, I finally had my turn and, business done, quickly fell into my New York stride.

Moving to the steps, I glanced up to almost knock over a young boy dressed in a blazer and tie. He looked to be about 8-years old an stood nervously offering chocolate bars for sale to support his school.

Old Habits Die Hard…

For years before, I came to see most anyone who asked me for money on the street in the same vain…pests, addicts and thieves. Yes, even the kids. Plants used by parents to solicit money for alcohol. Through a combination of fatherhood, spiritual exploration, the pursuit of a more conscious path and a switch to decaf latte, though, I found my outlook ceding to a more compassionate inner voice.

Less “why are you bothering me” and more “who am I to judge?”

As I looked up at this young man, he smiled insecurely. Feeling like my karma needed a bit of zip and wanting to do something nice, I offered a dollar for a bar and a thank you. I was feeling pretty good about my deed and began to make my way down the short flight of stairs and through the glass doors ahead.

As I approached, I noticed an older gentleman, silver hair and glasses, leaning with some effort on a cane and smiling at me. I thought this odd. People don’t make eye contact on the street in Manhattan, even older people. But, he looked so kind, I couldn’t resist smiling back.

As I began to move toward him, thinking that would be the end of it, his smile widened to a grin. He began to raise his hand ever so gently. I turned to realize he was pointing at the young man inside on the steps.

“That’s my grandson,” he shared with some effort, “thank you.”

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31 responses

31 responses to “A Kid, A Tie and a Chocolate Smile”

  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by remarkablogger, Grant Griffiths, Sarah Cairncross, Bryan K, kurio's resource and others. kurio's resource said: A Kid, A Tie and a Chocolate Smile http://dlvr.it/1rh99 […]

  2. Jean Sarauer says:

    Here’s to slowing down and stepping into the magic. Thank you for this beautiful story, and I hope you enjoy this Father’s Day weekend.

  3. Rick says:

    Great story – thanks for sharing, even if you ended up keeping the chocolate for yourself. 🙂

  4. Man, what a pleasant surprise. Slowing down is probably the thing I struggle with most, so this spoke volumes to me.

    Thanks for sharing.

  5. Dusty says:

    Great story. This relates to my feelings on Karma. So many people I know have said something like “when am I going to get my good karma repaid? I do good things all of the time.” My view is that everyday that you wake up and are in good health, have your family and friends there for you and experience moments like these that you have just described, are your good karma payoffs. It just comes in small continuous payoffs and not in some big life changing moment. It’s like everyone is waiting to hit the lottery or something as their positive karma payoff.

    Thanks Jonathan!

  6. Maria Palma says:

    Thank you for such an inspiring post. I really needed this today.

  7. Eric Walker says:

    Hi Jonathan,

    I think this is my first comment here at this blog, although I have been here to read before.

    Nice reminder about the power of slowing enough to see reality as an opportunity instead of something to pass through to our own continued illusions.

    Quick question – On those days when perspective is a tough sell, and you DON’T run into the boy with the candy or his grandpa with an appreciative smile, how do you slow enough to feed yourself the xray vision sometimes needed to see the opportunity that is every day living?

    Good stuff.

  8. Love this, Jonathan. Yep, the joy of life is often cloaked in simplicity…right in front of us. And when we’re busy rushing around (as many of us are) we blow right past it.

    Be sure to check out my friend Liv Lane’s blog, Choosing Beauty (www.choosingbeauty.com); her whole site is based on exactly what you just experienced – seeing the magic and miracles of everyday life, right in front of us.

    Enjoy continuing to revel in Grandpa’s smile. 🙂

  9. I think this might just be the secret to the meaning of life. Thanks for sharing.

  10. Cool post Jonathan – you helped spread the smile a little further.

    It’s moments like these that create the necessary abundance of gratitude required to do great things. I’ll bet the rest of your day was just swell… and meaningful too!

  11. Balal Naeem says:

    This is the first time i read your blog. And i am feeling bad about myself that why i didn’t i come here before. Anyways, Wonderful post.

    We always need to learn from the tiny things in our life. 🙂


  12. It’s amazing what a few moments and dollar can do. Never underestimate the joy of doing something for someone else. These are the moments that truly define who we are.

    Thanks for sharing such a moment from your life.

  13. Mick Morris says:

    In the words of John Lennon… instant Karma is gunna get you… nuff said!

  14. Mick Morris says:

    Ohh and Jonathon… I hope that wasn’t the chocolate bar that prompted you tweet about chocolate so bad you couldn’t it eat!

  15. This post reminded me to think of the others around me even on the dehumanizingly crowded Tokyo subway. We are fortunate when we have the grandpas in our life not to praise us, or give us credit, but to remind us that our best instincts do more than we intended our could have imagined. It makes our pursuit of a better life and world a little easier, and for that we should be truly thankful.

  16. […] Jonathan Fields’ blog is called Awake at the Wheel. […]

  17. Annette says:

    Hi Jonathan,

    I can full relate to the story. I work in London and a day of unproductive meetings, change phobic colleagues, insane business proposals, mad managers…..can challenge everyone’s mood. So I use the lunch break to play a bit of piano at one of these street pianos in public. Its the best way to destress and put everything into perspective. When I turn around and see smiling faces and maybe a thank you here and there I think to myself: no pay cheque in the world can give you more satisfaction than a genuine smile.

  18. Thanks for sharing this wonderful story.

    We tend to get so centered and focused on our own problems that we forget to look around us to help others with the simplest of deeds. We tend not to realize that these simple acts can make us feel so much better.

  19. lovely story – a smile is magic

  20. Jesse says:

    My latte and this story was a nice way to start my day.

  21. […] A little story to get in the spirit of Father’s day: A Kid, A Tie and A Chocolate Smile […]

  22. ava diamond says:

    Truly, it is those moments of connection that enrich our lives. Thank you for sharing this story, Jonathan. It was a lovely addition to my day.

  23. Wonderful. These opportunities are all around everyone. You last sentence says it all, just give yourself the chance to see!

  24. Krisenkindt says:

    Beautiful story, Jonathan! Thanks! 🙂
    Great read to end the day.

  25. I’m so glad I opened my mail – a post to remember-

  26. Janet says:

    Stories involving children and grandparents just melt my heart…this one included. You do have a way with words, Mr. Jonathan Fields!

  27. Great post Jonathan – I’m really grateful for the reminder, and to be able to share in your spiritual path. Sloooowwwwiiinggggg down. 🙂

  28. Mary E. Ulrich says:

    After all the “launch fatigue” and blog-hype-selling mania, this story helps get back to the basics of our needing other people.

    Thanks for sharing your story, your insight and for giving us a glimpse of the power of a blog post.

  29. […] A Kid, A Tie and a Chocolate Smile – One smile can do a world of good. In today’s world we rarely slow down to take in the good moments from strangers. In this post you will find out how one little boy in a busy city could transform a man’s day. […]

  30. […] Hint: keep it flowing by indulging in random acts of kindness where you can. […]

  31. Anne says:

    Thanks for posting your story. It was so very touching and it made me smile when I read it. :)Simply great.