#ftf = Favorite Things Friday (Things and people that I love and write about on Fridays)
Oh, what a difference a lunch can make!
Today I became officially “in the spirit” for Christmas. I’ve been struggling this year. It’s been a year of great loss and change and my heart has felt very “Bah Humbug” about this month. I usually enter this time of year with great anticipation and JOY but even though Hallmark Christmas Movies were giving me 2 hours of escape, I just wasn’t feeling it.
A week ago I read this story (shared on Facebook) about a group of friends that gathers for lunch, each bringing a $100 dollar bill. They share lunch and then tip the waiter, as a group, with the $100 dollar bills. The story shared that at this particular lunch their gift was $1500!
I “shared” the story and added “Who wants to do this with me?” to the post. The response was crazy…and so encouraging! I didn’t REALLY plan for it to happen/be a “thing”…just wanted to share the idea and pass it along. Due to the response, I knew I needed to try to put it together but, the people pleaser in me was worried about how to make it convenient for the majority, etc. Honestly, the stress of thinking through how to organize it almost kept me from seeing it through.
But- on Tuesday (3 days ago) I posted TWO options/opportunities. TODAY/Friday at 11:30am and/or next Thursday at 9am! I had 10 women reply for todays gathering (as well as others that plan to do next Thursday) and I private messaged them the location and details.
I didn’t make “$100” a requirement/suggestion – instead I just told them to bring what they could/wanted and asked them to begin praying about the person that would be gifted the money.
I arrived at the restaurant early to make sure we could get a table and was (just keeping it real) surprised when a male waiter approached to take my drink order. In my head I had been picturing this scene and it included a group of WOMEN giving a gift to a WOMAN. Huh…wasn’t quite sure why this felt weird but I have to admit, at first, it did.
One thing I LOVED about this gathering was that many of the women did not know each other. They all came without really knowing who would be there and, honestly, they didn’t seem to care! It was so much fun to keep making introductions, as each one arrived, and to see them effortlessly begin conversations. It wasn’t awkward or weird…just some girls doing lunch! It was awesome.
When our food arrived, I prayed and thanked God for girlfriends and for “Michael” (I’ve changed his name since I didn’t ask for his permission to share it). I asked God to use our gift to encourage him – not having any information about his life or how he was doing as the holidays approached.
During lunch we passed around an envelope and everyone put their money inside. We agreed that I would use the cash to pay for lunch (one ticket to make it easy on him) and we would tip on that amount (which we did at the register when we left). Then the rest of the $$ we would give to him in a Christmas Card. We wanted it to be a GIFT (not a “tip”) so he didn’t feel the need to report the income, etc.
After he cleared our table and we were ready to leave, we called him over and I just explained that we were a group of friends that came together for lunch and wanted to give him a gift for Christmas. He thanked us and took the sealed card and we quickly exited (all agreeing that we didn’t NEED to see his reaction or put him in a weird place of responding).
We went outside and purposefully walked to the side of the building to take a group selfie (like this is really a shock to anyone!?!) and then hugged each other goodbye and started to head to our cars. Just as we were disbursing, “Michael” came out the front door and began hugging everyone. I didn’t even know it was happening but turned around just as he got to me. He was very emotional and through tears, said “Thank you”. As we hugged I said, “We have no idea about your life/situation…but we hope that this gift is a blessing to you.” He nodded and said, “You have no idea. Merry Christmas.”
I learned/was reminded of several lessons today:
*Facebook is awesome and when used for GOOD, it is an amazing tool! I’m thankful for the article that was shared and the ease in which I could “forward”. Let’s keep sharing GOOD stuff, friends…ok?
*We can think we know what’s best or plan things out but – it’s God who is really in control. I’m trusting Him that “Michael” was THE PERSON that needed this gift today.
*While buying for and giving to our family and friends is fun (and Tom and I will continue to do that…hello! #grandparenting), there is something that is EXTRA cool about random acts of kindness and giving.
*That women are AMAZING – and while ONE can do great things…when they join together in a GROUP – Watch out! It took us less than an hour to come together, make new friends, have lunch and gift our waiter OVER $800! WHAT?!?
While the amount of money isn’t really THE point…I share it to say, “AWESOME and AMAZING things happen within community!” There is ABSOLUTELY NOTHING “special” about ME reposting a story and then sending a few private messages about where to meet. GRAB SOME FRIENDS or GET YOUR FAMILY and do this the next time you dine out (or next time you order food to the house…can you image your delivery person’s face with an “over and above” tip!?!).
I hope you trust that I share this story NOT to receive kudos/praise for putting it together. That is sooooooo not the point and truly not my heart. At lunch today we all agreed that I would share it to ENCOURAGE OTHERS TO DO THE SAME (just as we were all encouraged when we read the original post from the other group).
So- invite some co-workers to meet up next week…talk to your PTA moms and do this at the coffee shop…forgo a round of gifts with your family this year and freak out your UPS driver. And if that can’t work – Tom and I would LOVE for you to join us as we do this TWO more times this year. Let us know if you want to join the fun! We would love to have you.
Lori: Next Thursday, December 19th at 9:00am/breakfast in Allen.
Tom: A group of guys will be meeting Saturday, December 21st at 8:00am/breakfast in Plano.
Let us know if you want to come to either and we will gladly send you the info!
(And this time I’m feeling JOY as I say it!)
Oh, and ladies…same time next year?!? Let’s make this a tradition!
#MostWonderfulLunchOfTheYear #girlfriendsROCK #NewChristmasTradition #JOY #loveDoesTheUnexpected