Fumbling with overstuffed bags of grocery, as I tried to get my keys out of my purse, a young teenage girl with little fashion sense came to my side and held out a paper mache flower with a note attached on the green pipe cleaner stem.

“This is for you,” she proudly stated, with an ear to ear grin.

“Huh? What’s this for?” I replied, somewhat annoyed, especially since I didn’t have a free hand to accept it. Thinking she was a do-gooder looking for a donation for some off-the-wall cause, or better yet, for a school trip to Disneyland, I turned my back and huffily responded, “I don’t have any extra money today.”

“Oh no,” she replied. “I don’t want any money. This is just a random act of kindness. You look like you could use it.” Then helping me with my groceries, she placed the flower in my hand and enthusiastically stated, “Now it’s your turn to pass it along. Have a nice day.”

Driving away, I felt  humiliated. How could I be so suspicious of this child who looked like your average ninth grader on her way to meet her friends in the park? There was nothing threatening about her and yet I immediately assumed she was after something. What had happened to my life to let cynicism invade every thought? I use to be so trusting.

Placing the flower on my window sill, where it would be a constant reminder that there are good people still in the world, I made up my mind to carry on her tradition. Maybe I wouldn’t be passing off a handmade replica of the daisies in my backyard, but I could pass along a smile, a kind word, a gentle touch to someone who might just need it.

It’s a wonderful feeling to be the recipient of a kind gesture, but it’s even more rewarding to be the one doing the deed. Try it! See how it makes your day brighter when you watch the face of a stranger light up in a smile.