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kindness of strangersFor the second year in a row my birthday got lost (which I wouldn’t mind as much if I didn’t STILL have to get another year older). I’m the head zookeeper of our little menagerie here at Wit’s End Cottage, and as such it has always been my solemn duty to see that every birthday is duly celebrated with appropriate cakes, gifts, and company. (I keep wondering where it said that in our wedding vows…) That being the case, my own birthday is seldom tended to with as much flair and festivities. I mean it seems really pathetic to throw yourself your own party, doesn’t it? And even demeaning to say, “Hey, Lord D, can you do me a cake and a party? And for a gift I would like…” That’s right up there with fishing for compliments!  (I must be careful here. I am walking a fine line between honesty and pity party, and the party closet is just within reach!)

I don’t remember what happened last year to derail my day, but this year our family has been in a turmoil because of my brother-in-law’s cancer. My extended family is very small. I have a brother that lives clear across country, but here it is just my sister and me and our youngens. On my birthday in May, Greg had taken a turn for the worst and we ended up helping my sister get him to the Cancer Institute in Salt Lake.

It was by my own choice that I decided to put off having our little family gathering (just for the sake of hearing them sing Happy Birthday very badly and blowing out my candles which are now a 6 and a 4 instead of God knows how many little boxes worth) until Greg was stable and we were all able to be together again. I’m glad to say that after nearly two months in rehab Greg came home on Saturday, and I’m glad I waited for this. I kept telling him I couldn’t have my cake until he could eat it, too!

But in the midst of all that, with well wishes coming over the phone lines, hugs at church, and a card from Lord Drollery, I still felt very blue. I couldn’t help but think it would be so nice just once in a while if someone made a big deal of MY day. (Yes, I’ve had to restock the party closet since May — twice!)

But then something unusual happened. I got a handmade birthday card in the mail. I had NO idea where it came from. No one I know does stuff like that. Inside was a lovely sentiment thanking me for what I do for others, and a $50 bill! I was totally flabbergasted. No, it wasn’t from a stranger, per se, as suggested in this prompt, but the fact remains I still have no clue who sent it. What I DO know is that I hurriedly cleaned up the party room and threw all the paper hats and noisemakers away for the simple reason that someone HAD gone out of their way to notice.

I know that sounds really self-centered. Maybe it is. I’m not normally that way. But that card and those words made me feel I was as special as I always try to make my family feel on their special day. It wasn’t about the money at all (that is stashed away in my jewelry box for safe keeping for a time when I see something I really want to treat myself with, if I ever do), it was about the words and the act itself. And I have to say it’s one of the kindest things anyone has ever done for me.

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When was the last time a stranger did something particularly kind, generous, or selfless for you? Tell us what happened!