Have you ever considered what you could give away when you travel?
Candy, gum, a magazine, or maybe just a smile or an offer to help a newbie traveler through the airport.
On one or more occasions, I've given all the above and the joy the gifts bring to my travels are better than any souvenir I could purchase.
Awhile back I started carrying, in my travel bag, two copies of The Giving Challenge. If I encountered someone I thought might enjoy the book, I'd sign and give them a copy.
Some people end up following me on social media or sending an email, thanking me for the gift. Others I never hear from, and that's okay. But what happened recently was a first.
If you've flown Southwest you know there are not assigned seats. Walking down the aisle, I looked for a friendly face to sit by. As I passed a row, a 4 Things Tote by Shop Forward caught my attention. Shop Forward gives back to nonprofits through every purchase, to date, raising over $3.1 million.
Because of the bag, I was confident the lady sitting in the window seat must be a fellow giver.
I plopped down, we chatted about the bag and then our conversation turned to Shop Forward's #PimpinJoy line of clothing. I shared with my new friend, how I'd been wanting to buy some of their clothes, but I was on a self-imposed no clothes shopping ban for a year. Why? I realized I had too many clothes and I needed to be grateful and content for what I owned. I now use the money, I'd spend on clothes, for foster children or other children in need.
Before we knew it, a man took the middle seat and our conversation ended.
I noticed she was reading so I figured she may enjoy my book. I pulled a copy out of my bag, signed it and handed it to her. I think she was a bit shocked by my gift, but extremely grateful.
She departed the flight in Nashville and I stayed on to continue my way home to Chicago.
A couple weeks later a package arrived at my home. I hadn't ordered anything. Ummmm?
I opened the bag and inside was a #PimpinJoy t-shirt. I cried!
I'm the giver. Surprised gifts don't venture my way to often.
My new friend included a card that said, "I wanted to thank you again for the book you gave me on the airplane. I enjoyed it and have already passed it on to my daughter. I remember your story about not buying new clothes this year, so I thought you would enjoy this shirt and together we helped a disabled vet build a home. #PimpinJoy"
Oh friends, there is so much I loved about the thoughtfulness of the gift and note, but discovering the purchase helped a Veteran was a cherry on top.
I love our Veterans. So much so, my next book, The Gratitude Challenge will help fund a monthly Veterans breakfast.
Many times, our gifts go out into the world and never come back. And that's okay. We are to give with no expectation. But sometimes, they come back in the form of a t-shirt and a new friend.
Giving Challenge: Next time you travel, pack a couple of gifts to give away to a stranger.
Inspirational Speaker and Award-Winning Author of