Friday, November 25, 2011

Hidden Shopping Spree

Our shopping this weekend didn't include fighting crowds and hunting for deals, but instead involved hiding them.  We didn't stand in line, scour the ads, and struggle with strangers but rather snuck, searched, and whispered through the store. The kids chose to do "acts of kindness" by attaching money to gifts and tucking them secretly back on the shelves.  While we didn't stay to see the reactions, we hope children will grab items wanting them, as they often do, and be surprised.  It was one of the best shopping trips I can ever remember during such a normally chaotic holiday experience.
Sharing with the kids the "free drink" idea, they quickly asked if they could do the same and that started our Kindness "Reverse-Shopping" Spree.  Handing them change and a sheet of labels, we set off.  Soaking in the meaning of the labels, which said, "This random act of kindness was done in memory of Austin Blair (7/8/94 – 11/29/08).  Pay it forward." they were both silent for a moment and then touched to get to be a part of this project. 

Instantly, they began spurting off ideas of things we could do to make a difference in someone's day.  We soon ended up at a local store with a plan and two very excited kids.

Each of them had a few one dollar bills and began the search for toys in that amount so whatever child found it would be able to get it for free.  Sadly, in today's economy, there aren't a great deal of choices in this category but I think the kids did a wonderful job.

Noah found a firefighter coloring book, which reminded him of Austin and how much he loved the fire department.  Attaching the dollar to the back, I was glad I captured the sweet innocence with my phone.  He then located a container of play-do, something he still loves to play with even at his age. Tucking them both so that the dollars were hidden, Tina began her hunt.

She was able to find a toy firetruck as well.  It was the only truck in the mixture of rubber ducks.  Bringing the box toward the front and at a kid's eye level, she squeezed the truck in among the yellow birds.  I can only imagine how happy a little child will be when they spy it and their chubby little hand grabs it off the shelf. 

Tina then headed for the baby food aisle, saying how hard it might be for someone this time of year.  Hoping a single mom or struggling family might happen upon the food, she attached a dollar with a label, making it free.

Both kids said after each one, "Wow, this feels good," and "I wish I could see who gets it," or "I hope it goes to someone who really needs it."  They were both truly touched by the acts and honored to do something in Austin's memory. 

Noah, remembering he had a five dollar bill in his pocket, asked if we could make one last stop at the shoes.  He wanted to gift a free pair to a child who may need it.  Finding just the right pair, he hid the money inside with a smile.

On the way home, we made a few more secret stops the kids requested,        each one a hug to my heart. 
While we miss Austin every day, holidays are the hardest, especially this weekend with his angel-versary approaching.  However, I know Austin was with us every step of this shopping spree and so very proud of his little brother and cousin.  I could feel his sweet spirit surrounding us and am thankful for each treasured moment.  I hope Austin's spirit lives on and touches each family finding these hidden surprises. 
Just the act certainly blessed each of us.


Kat Biggie said...

What an amazing and fun and thoughtful idea!! I love it! I am also participating in acts of kindness this year. It feels great!

Heather said...

It's something we look forward to doing every year, but also great to do impromptu whenever the opportunity shows. :) thanks for stopping by.

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