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How to Thank a Stranger

December 15, 2019

In Cedarfield tradition, the Pastoral Care Team created this compilation of holiday memoirs by team members and residents. We will share one a day through the holidays. Happy Holidays to you and yours!

Carol Beck, Resident

A number of years ago, a little girl named Audrey had just danced in a performance of The Nutcracker ballet in Norfolk. After the performance, Audrey’s dad suggested that she and her sisters shop with him for a Christmas gift for their mom. While looking over all the lovely things available, Audrey spotted a beautiful pink satin Christmas stocking in the shape of a ballet shoe. She, of course, couldn’t take her eyes off of this treasure and asked her dad if she could have it. Audrey’s dad reminded her that they were there to find something for her mom and that if he bought this for her, her sisters would also want something for themselves. Audrey accepted that answer, but stood there admiring this beautiful stocking. Another woman shopper, a stranger to all of us,approached Audrey and said, “It is lovely, isn’t it?” Audrey replied, “Yes, and I just danced in the Nutcracker.” The woman wished Audrey a Merry Christmas and was on her way. When the shopping for mom was done and Audrey’s dad approached the clerk to pay for purchases, the clerk handed Audrey a shopping bag that the stranger had left for her. As Audrey peeked in the bag and saw the stocking, she also looked around for the woman, but she was no longer in the shop.

That evening as Audrey hung the beautiful ballet stocking on the mantel at home, she wondered how she could ever thank this stranger. I suggested to her that perhaps someday she would do something kind and generous for someone else and remember the lovely stranger.

Many years later after graduation from the University of Virginia, our lovely Audrey worked for nearly a year as a volunteer in a refugee camp for Palestinian women in Amman, Jordan. We all believe that Audrey has said thank you.


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