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Stranger’s generosity — ultimate act of kindness

By Staff | Jul 27, 2010

There is wisdom from an old Chinese proverb “A bit of fragrance always clings to the hand that gives roses.”

It takes the scripture from the Holy Bible – “It is more blessed to give than to receive”- to a new dimension in that there is an odd unexplainable feeling that surfaces when you give while expecting nothing in return. If the attitude in heart and soul is floating in this generous thought, the giver will receive more than what was given. And both parties retain the sweet memory forever.

There is a touching tale here if you continue to read. And the story unfolds right in our very own HyVee Grocery Store on Central Avenue. The storyteller said it was “the nicest tear-jerker to have happened to her in a long time.”

It was on Friday afternoon, July 23 that Marty Hall of Estherville was in the floral department looking to buy some of the gorgeous roses that were on sale for 50 cents apiece. As it happens to everyone, she bumped into a few friends who were purchasing flowers too for various occasions. There also stood a young man who according to Hall “was purchasing roses for his wife for the occasion of their eighth wedding anniversary.”

She and he engaged in a small intimate conversation in which he told her he was buying the roses for his wife because he was departing with his Iowa National Guard group next week for Afghanistan. This soldier in civilian clothes hails from Bode.

“I told him to make sure to have the air-conditioning going in his car when he started for home with the roses, but he told me his vehicle had no AC.”

While Hall’s heart is perpetually full of smiles and joy, she did feel some dread for this young man who must spend time on another continent but wished him a happy anniversary. “I then told the gals at the floral counter that I had some shopping to do and would come back for my roses.”

At least that is what she intended to do.

“I was in the bread aisle, looking around, and there comes the young man who was buying the roses for his spouse. “Here,” he said to Hall as he handed her a vase of roses. “These are for you because you shouldn’t have to buy roses for yourself.”

The lump in Hall’s throat quickly brought a few tears to her eyes as the realization that the wonderful and kind gesture of this young man, someone she did not know, would bring her so much happiness. The very idea that a total stranger could touch another’s heart, mind and soul is something found between pages of a book or in a clip from a movie.

Hall said her emotions were such that she never did get the young man’s name although she thanked him profusely for the white roses with red tips and that’s when the tears of joy overflowed.

“My only regret is I didn’t know the man and I didn’t get his name.”

So now Hall is “paying it forward.”

“I am going to be at the Iowa National Guard Armory for the 11 a.m. sendoff of our local unit on Sunday, Aug. 1 no matter what. Hopefully this young man and his wife (family) will be there so I can get his name. I encourage all of Estherville to turn out for this send-off ceremony for our men and women in uniform who will be stationed in Afghanistan for a year. Let’s support our kids. We have to let them know we as a community are behind them 110 percent.”

While a bit of the fragrance clings to this man’s hand, there is no doubt Hall will cling to the memory of this kind act and most definitely will be something she will always remember.