I was in kind of a crummy mood when I left work today. No particular reason, just one of those days. As I breezed through the lobby I noticed a guy at the front desk that I didn’t recognize and I just blew right by. A mumbled “Have a good one” followed me as the door swung shut.

“It’s a beautiful day!” announced a woman walking by. Really? It was? It wasn’t raining, which was a welcome change. But thick gray clouds hung low in the dark sky and the light seemed to have been flattened out of everything.

Even the prospect of giving money away didn’t lift my spirits like it usually does. The glow that I usually see when I look at strangers was oddly absent. I just kind of trudged along, feeling vaguely sorry for myself.

Yup, you heard me. I was feeling sorry for myself! Because I didn’t feel “inspired!” I should be embarrassed to admit it, but I feel I am among friends here. It just goes to show that anyone can have a bad day, even someone giving away hundred dollar bills.

The bus zoomed by and I was trying to decide whether to walk the rest of the way or catch the next one. A woman on the corner crossed the street and walked right by me. She had a bow in her hair, bright pink sunglasses and the most amazing bounce in her step. She was deeply involved in a conversation on her cell phone.

I turned and watched the woman for a few seconds before deciding to follow. After a minute she took the phone away from her ear. “Excuse me!” I called. She turned around, then gave me a big smile as I caught up with her. “I like your glasses!” I said. She was just friendly as could be, and didn’t seem to find it strange that I had stopped her.


We talked for a minute, then I launched into my spiel. I told her I was honoring my mother, who had died not long ago. And that I was paying forward a gift my mother had given to me. She watched me carefully, and when I held out the C-note she just stared.

“Oh, my goodness,” she said. “Oh, my goodness! Oh! My! Goodness!” She stood with her hand on her chest, shaking her head. “Is this for real?”

“When did your mother pass?” she wanted to know. Then she said her grandmother had also died in May. She introduced herself; her name was Ashley. She said she’s looking for a job and it’s a real struggle to care for herself and her two-year old daughter. The money would help a lot. She thanked me over and over. “I just can’t help it, I have to give you a hug!” she said, reaching out and embracing me. Then she shook my hand and we said goodbye.

I walked the rest of the way home. Had I just not noticed that there were big patches of blue sky poking through the clouds?


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11 Responses to Oh, My Goodness

  1. Ginny says:

    You are right some days are like that, we just feel sorry for ourselves until some one comes along and says something nice to us. Or we hear of someone that has it so much worse than us. That always does it for me. I think WOW it isn’t such a bad world after all.
    Bless you!

  2. Renee says:


    For me, YOU are the blue sky poking through in a grey and wet Oregon day.

  3. Pru McDonald says:

    Lovely little story! We must remember that the “blue” is ALWAYS there––we just need to learn to see past the clouds!

  4. j.kathleen says:

    Dear Jill,

    I absolutely LOVED this post. You made me giggle–at you, and your crabby mood and the way our whole self inevitably shows up in anything we commit to with our entire beings. The lift you received from your connection with Ashley and her wonderful spirit and whimsical hot-pink glasses, I feel from connecting with you in today’s post. Thank you–for your honesty(and comical) examination of self and for sharing so generously with your readers. I’m still grinning.

  5. DJan says:

    I have been reading Thicht Nhat Hahn’s book, “Peace Is Every Step,” telling me how I can become responsible for world peace. Really, Jill, and this post illustrates for me how contagious smiles are!

  6. andrea gehrke says:

    Oh gosh, don’t you just despise those crummy, feeling sorry for oneself kind of days? I think we as Oregonians are more prone to having them when our days can seem endlessly gray. Ashley was a wonderful ray of light. No wonder there was blue in the sky. Suddenly the world was a nicer place because of that connection. Thank you again, Jill, for another great story.

  7. You are so much in the spirit of what I call “pay it forward”. Perhaps you know the movie where the young boy says for every gift you get you must “pay it forward” by four. I too inherited some money from my parents who were so frugal in their lifestyle that I have been reluctant to “hand it out”. But I am ready to,,,just as you have. You are an inspiration to me!!!

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