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Growing up, my mother always had a lot of morsels of wisdom, stuck haphazardly to the refrigerator and propped up on window sills, like…

“God never closes a door without opening a window”

“The best man for the job may be a woman”

“I want to be the kind of person my dog thinks I am”

“Practice random acts of kindness”

I had sort of forgotten about that last one until yesterday. Dylan, Summer and I were walking to the coffee shop and we spotted a guy with a van, parked on our street. Normally, I’m not an enormous fan of strange guys with shady vans, but this one was delivering flowers. What are the chances of some crazy child snatcher moonlighting as a florist? Gotta be pretty low, right?

His side door was wide open and he noticed us peering in.

Flower guy: Here have a bouquet.

Me: What? Really? Oh, no, we just wanted to smell the beautiful flowers.

Flower guy: Take this. It’s yours.

Me: Really? Are you sure? Well, ok. Thanks so much. That is so nice of you. (For free? Really?! You know you can get money for these buddy. People actually purchase flowers.)

Receiving free, gorgeous flowers is a fabulous way to start a Saturday. It put me in such a buoyant mood that I thought it would be a fun family activity to go to the Container Store. I’m sure you’ve tried this before. You attempt to turn a necessary errand into an exciting adventure.

“No, kids, we aren’t going to the playground on this sunny spring day. Forget the slide. Nevermind the swings. We are doing something far more fabulous. We are headed to the Container Store!! Wait until you see all the amazing ways you can organize your toys. The giant plastic storage bins alone are worth the trip!

I wanted to avoid a $25 delivery fee. (Yes anything in NYC can be delivered.) I just can’t stomach purchasing a $15 storage bin and then paying $25 to have it delivered.

It all went pretty well. I mean, the girls did immediately knock over a huge display of containers. But one of the store clerks confided that Martha Stewart herself had knocked over that very same stack recently and then instructed one of her assistants to clean up.

Rick and I looked around for one of our assistants but finding none, we did the dirty work ourselves.

And we did try to buy some rubber balls for the playground (who knew the Container Store sold balls?) but upon checkout we were told, the balls were merely props for their displays. So apparently they don’t.

I will admit that the girls got a bit rowdy towards the end.

First this happened….

and then Dylan scaled the counter…

It was clear that Rick and I were seriously losing control of the situation. So we paid…

and got the heck out of there. And I may not have any assistants, but I did have a handsome sherpa to schlep the stuff home.

No $25 charge. Just a random act of kindness.

mama bird notes

Lanie is the winner of the super cool Toby + Rei t-shirt and lunch sack!

As some of you may know, I do consulting work for a start-up called TotSpot. It’s like a Facebook for kids. You can create a safe, private profile for your child, record everything from their first word to their current favorite toy, upload pictures and videos and share it all with family and friends.

TotSpot is still working on the final product. They would love feedback from mamas. If you want to try it out, email me at kelcey@mamabirddiaries.com and I will send you the invite code.

30 Responses to acts of kindness

  • Milena says:

    I have to say that the flower incident was quite amazing. Especially for New York. All blessings on this guy and I'm so glad he made you and the girl's day. i try to avoid the container store the way one would avoid being left alone in a fully stocked donut shop. That place is murder on the wallet. Loved the vase.

  • Kristen says:

    Congrats Lanie! I love these pictures… I can just imagine the escalation of the girls' excitment. Love the flowers!

  • Jessi says:

    I am lol'ing at the kids on the counter, but more at the look of the woman behind the counter!

    The flowers are beautiful! RAOK are wonderful!

    Oh and yes, I want the code please! I will have to search through over a year of posts online on different sites of the things my kids have done and said – but this will work!

  • My husband takes our 3 yr old to the grocery store (a random act of kindness in and of itself) and they play fun games like "the sweet potatoes are going to get us" (it's a dad thing)…Love those roses and the Container Store!!

  • holli says:

    I love your mom’s quotes too.. I’m all caught up in sentimental things – perhaps because we’re currently staying with my parents.

    I’m glad you got free flowers – even if your children had to scale the Container Store for.. a container?


  • Abby Siegel says:

    My brother Matt and I like to play a game “Let’s be Mom and Dad!” Here is a sampling of what they ALWAYS said to us:

    Mom: Have a banana.
    Dad: If you don’t do this you will be in a world of hurt.
    Mom: I have a bone to pick with you.

    And so on,and so on, and so on. I’m glad I can laugh about it now! Get me a sherpa!

  • mp says:

    Random acts of kindness should be SO easy..yet I don't always think about it..they really are selfish too cause they make the giver feel so good too..the other day I was in a hurry at the grocery store yet I stopped and helped a little old lady find all the soup she wanted on the shelf and helped her put it in her cart..

  • Robyn says:

    I love that you actually took pictures of the girls climbing the counters (instead of pulling them right off)! It’s definitely funnier with pictures to prove it!

  • wa says:

    We no longer go to the Container Store because I could no longer take my husband screaming, "Good God, I can NOT contain myself in here!"

    Neither could most of the store employees.

  • Jessi says:

    Telling me of the Container Store was the excitement of my entire night last night when I read your blog. I went right away to their website and fell in love with everything. My entire decor could be made up of plastic totes lol
    Then I backed out and didn’t submit the order – HOLY COW! the shipping is horrible. Doubled my order just b/c of the shipping. Someday when I am near one, I will have to go shopping πŸ™‚

  • Lanie says:

    I am so excited to win – that makes my day! Thank you!

    Acts of kindness really do make a huge difference and don’t usually take too much time.

  • Memarie Lane says:

    FYI that may not have been a flower delivery guy.

    Brad used to work for a mortuary, picking up and delivering bodies. Often after a funeral they would be left with tons of flower arrangements, and Brad would have to drive around and find people to take them. It was nice to always have flowers, but also creepy…

  • Betsy says:

    I love the container store. Unfortunately my nearest store is far enough away that it may cost us $25 in gas.

  • Damselfly says:

    If a man comes up to you and gives you flowers, it must be the perfume you're wearing…. Wasn't that a commercial?! πŸ™‚

    What is it with kids and counters? Mine can't stay off. Maybe it's because they're vertically challenged. The people at the library are soooo not understanding of this.

  • motherbumper says:

    Mmmmmm container store sounds like my mecca.

    And what ever happened to the fable of the rude New Yorkers? Oh I kid, I'm so glad that Spring is contagious and joy is a spreadin'.

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kelcey kintner