Dillon Beach, California. Day 23 of My Month of Hundreds.

The day is socked in with fog, and the sky and water come together at the horizon in a gray blur. My friend Neysa’s grandfather and uncles built this amazing house in the 1960’s and the family uses it for weekend and vacation getaways. She spent much of her childhood here, playing on the beach with her sister and cousins. I always craved more family time than I had, and it sounds idyllic.

We wanted to go for a walk, despite the gray sky. There were a lot of people on the beach and even in the water – folks with their dogs, kids in shorts, and surfers with their boards bobbing into view in the distance. When we got outside we realized it was raining hard. The wind was whipping the rain into our faces and our glasses were soon shedding drops onto our cheeks. Neysa decided to take hers off and made her way blindly along the sand. “Is that a dog?” she asked at one point.

We were quickly completely drenched. As my pants got wetter they got heavier and heavier, and I kept having to hitch them up out of the sand. We thought of turning back a couple of times but Neysa had a destination in mind. She’s twenty years my junior and I was determined to keep up.

By the time we got to the boat launch the beach was pretty deserted except for a few stoic individuals fishing from the landing. We ducked into the bait shop to warm up for a few minutes.  I had the C-note in my pocket and checked to make sure it hadn’t gotten soaked.

Fishing at Lawson’s Landing

A couple walked by with their dog. They all looked a bit bedraggled, which is I’m sure how I looked as well. I got curious and decided to see where they were headed. Neysa grabbed the camera and I dashed outside, following them into the trailer park.

Hot on the trail

When I had almost caught up with them I called out, “Excuse me!” The wind was wailing and I had to yell louder. They turned, startled, and let me catch up. “Nice day, isn’t it?” I asked. “I love it!” said the woman. We drove out here just to be in the weather. I just love when it’s like this.” They had come from Sacramento, about 100 miles away, to walk on the beach in the rain.

We were standing in the road and I started to explain what I was doing. “I’m honoring my mom by passing along a gift each day this month in her memory.” They were quiet. “This is a gift for you.” I held out the $100 bill.

“Oh, no! I couldn’t take that!” the woman said. “It’s a gift,” I encouraged. “You can do whatever you like with it.” After a pause she started to cry, took the money and gave me a big long hug. “I’m going to donate it to the SPCA. That’s how we got this little guy.” The dog was watching her adoringly.

“Are you sure?” she asked. I said I was. She wanted to know why I had chosen them today and I couldn’t really spell it out. “Something about the three of you just drew me in,” I explained. I think I said that they looked “interesting.” The man laughed and spoke for the first time. “That’s a lot nicer than what people usually say about how I look!”

With Mike, Heidi and Rocket

The woman said their names were Heidi and Mike, and the dog was Rocket. We all shook hands and Heidi hugged me again. She thanked me and said that she sometimes forgets that there are nice people in the world, which can seem like “a bleak place.”  Then she told me a story.

A few weeks ago she was in a parking lot loading up her groceries when her shopping cart rolled off, smashing into another car and causing some minor damage. She felt terrible about it and started to write a note to leave on the windshield. Before she could finish, the owner of the car came out of the store. Heidi explained what had happened and was surprised when the woman told her not to worry about it.

“She said that when she was in college the same thing happened to her. The person whose car she hit told her not to worry about it, just to make sure that she passed along the kindness someday.”

That’s the thing about passing along a kindness. You never know when or where it will land.

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17 Responses to Lawson’s Landing

  1. Another smile on my face. Thank you!

  2. Carrie says:

    Our weather today is similar… cold and rainy here. Great story!

  3. Cindy Thomas says:

    I can’t believe you’re hanging out in all my special places this weekend… I often go to Dillon’s and Lawson’s with my 3 dogs for a quick beach getaway.


  4. deb bernstein says:

    Oh, and if I haven’t mentioned it already, in addition to all my other heartfelt admiration, I must add that you are a fabulous writer.

  5. Susan Bolton says:

    Random acts of kindness are contagious…simply wonderful!

  6. DJan says:

    I follow dozens of blogs, and one friend of mine in Portland put a link to your blog and the Oregonian article about you. I read them all avidly, and now I am going back and reading all your posts.

    I read the comments on the Oregonian and could not believe how many people disapprove of your manner of honoring your mother. To me, these kinds of acts are contagious, and writing about your experiences allows your kindness to grow exponentially. I have already cried or teared up a dozen times in a dozen posts, and I look forward to reading every last word you have written.

    Oh, one thing: please don’t stop writing at the end of the month, but stick around in Blogland, please? You are a gifted communicator.

    • DJan- Thank you so much for reading and sharing! The comments on the Oregonian website were fascinating to me.

      I am trying to figure out what I will do at the end of the month. Waiting for inspiration to strike! Thanks again. Jill

  7. Mommy C says:

    I just finished reading your story in the Oregonian. It is an amazing thing that you are doing. I don’t have the means to replicate this idea, but know that you have inspired me to practice random acts of kindness when I can. Thank you!

  8. Tess says:

    I am happy that a reporter did a story on you! I got a whiff of your blog through a facebook post linked to that very article. It has been a rough week for me and reading all of your posts lifted my spirits and made me smile! I hope someday I find an opportunity to pass on the kindness as well! It’s amazing how simply hearing an inspiring story (or many) can have such an impact. Thank you for sharing and I hope you keep writing!

  9. Tricia says:

    I just read the wonderful article in the Oregonian about honoring your mother, and I’m very intrigued. My grandmother who lives in Portland has a very similar story. Hitler stole everything her family owned, and her parents were killed in the concentration camps. She fled to London and was also in the British Army. I wonder if my grandmother knew your mother. My grandmother appears to have a very similar view of money. I would love to visit with you more. You can respond to my e-mail if you are interested.

    • Tricia- Thank you very much for your comment. My mother was in London from around 1936-1944 or so. She worked with a rescue team to find people who had been trapped in bombed out buildings. Is that timeframe similar? I think this painful and terrible history impacted a lot of people this way. Jill

  10. Becky says:

    I just found your blog through a post from a friend on facebook. I have never even read a blog before but have to say that you have a fan now. I just signed up to recieve your posts.

    I want to thank you for your kindness. What a blessing to the people you give to but even moreso to those of us who get to read your uplifting posts. You have such a positive outlook on life. I believe you Mother is so honored just to have a daughter that is so positive and filled with kindness.

    Blessings to you,

  11. Rachel says:

    What a beautiful gesture. I just love what you’re doing and enjoyed reading this story. Thank you for blessing others in your mother’s name.

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