Booth 91

[I]f you want to talk about how kindness is an afterthought in the world today, you’ll just have to find someone else who will listen.

I don’t dispute there’s a lot less kindness than there once was, and I know the world could use a lot more, but there’s still some here.

I know. I’ve been given the gift of two random acts of kindness in the last two months.

First, some anonymous saint (or saints) paid for my meal at a Red Robin.

I never got a ticket, just a kind word from the server. She also told me she wasn’t allowed to say who paid for my burger.

I was so surprised by such a genuine gesture I walked out of the restaurant and had to send her tip inside a card in the mail.

Thank you, benevolent burger buyer.

Last weekend, I went to a flea market with Mama.

After a while, we took the elevator to the basement. I found an old chair in the aisle and planted myself in it.

The chair just happened to be across the aisle from a ton of old records, and it wasn’t long before I went to take a look.

I walked by a white-haired gentleman with glasses, who sat in another chair and read a newspaper.

There was a treasure trove of vinyl in crates inside the small booth, which also housed collectable Coke cans, posters and a few autographed pictures.

It would have taken me an hour to sort through it all.

The white-haired gentleman with glasses appeared in minutes.

“Welcome to booth 91,” he said. “This is my booth, and I don’t believe I’ve seen you here before.”

I told him he had not.

“Here’s what I’m gonna do,” he said. “The first album’s on me, and everything else is 20 percent off. I hope you find something you like.”

I could have stayed in booth 91 all day. I narrowed my selections to three albums and took them to the white-haired gentleman, who had returned to his chair and newspaper.

He wrote his initials, N.C., on the most expensive album and marked through the price.

“I hope you enjoy them,” he said. “I hope you tell your friends about me, too.”

The next time you wonder where the world’s kindness went, stop by the Eastbrook Flea Market and Antique Mall in Montgomery, Alabama. Talk to N.C. in booth 91.

You’ll be glad you did.

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