I wish I could tell you what I was thinking as I ran through the aisles of a grocery store in a contest to get to the back and win a cooked chicken, but I honestly can’t remember. Here’s what I do remember:
It was the employee family night at the grand opening of the grocery store where my mom manages the pharmacy. As we were all gathered around for speeches, a contest was announced: whoever could run to the back of the store, say the store’s number to Larry (or Gary, to be honest I’m not sure) would be rewarded with a chicken.
My mom hurriedly told me the store number, and I took off running. I almost ran into a wall of diapers, but that’s another story. When I got to the back of the store, I started screaming the numbers: it was clear that no one there except for Larry/Gary knew what was happening, because they all looked at me like I was crazy.
I saw a small line of people forming to get their chickens, but I was running in from the side so I just stood beside the line. I continued reciting the numbers over and over, matching the fervor with which Larry/Gary was doling out chickens. When he handed one to me, I burst out laughing. By the time I made it back to my family, I was in tears from laughing so hard.
That’s the story of how I ran through a grocery store and won a chicken. I had some for dinner tonight; by the way, and it was delicious. Writing this has put me in a storytelling mood, so here’s another story (sorry, no poultry involved in this one).
Today was my last day of school before summer vacation. I was walking up the stairs. A few metres in front of me was a teacher. At the top of the stairs, a student was holding open the door for the teacher (even though the teacher was quite far away from him).
When the teacher passed the door, he seemed taken with the student’s kind act. “Thank you,” he said. “That was so nice of you!” I was far away from the teacher, but he stayed to hold the door for me; no doubt inspired by the student’s act of kindness. I thanked the teacher and walked through the door (there was no one behind me, so I couldn’t continue the chain).
This small series of kindness absolutely made my morning and I felt privileged to have witnessed it. It just goes to show that no act of goodwill goes unnoticed; and even the smallest kind act has a ripple effect.
This afternoon, I was reading Seriously… I’m Kidding by Ellen DeGeneres. She uses a quote that I remember reading in another book, and that has no doubt appeared in countless textbooks (it is part of Newton’s Three Laws of Motion): for every reaction there is an equal and opposite reaction.
I realize Newton didn’t base this law on chickens and doors, yet when I read it, I immediately related it to both my chicken-winning adventure, and my door-holding experience. In the chicken-winning case, my reaction to the announcement of the contest was to try; the equal reaction was that other people tried, and the opposite reaction was that I won a chicken.
In the door-holding scenario, the student’s reaction to seeing the teacher was to hold the door open for him (even though he was far away); the equal reaction was that the teacher did the same for me, and the opposite reaction was that I couldn’t continue the chain but was instead struck by the fact that it had happened. (Side note: I know that’s not what the law means. Consider that a linguistic interpretation of a scientific idea).
If Newton is right, and there is an equal reaction to every initial reaction then you should be in tears of laughter right now (because that is equal to how I felt when I won the chicken). Even if you just smiled reading this, though, that’s okay. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I think I’m going to go eat some chicken.