You have likely heard the saying that a simple act of kindness can go a long way, maybe you’ve even been on the receiving end of someone’s thoughtful gesture. Sometimes we don’t realize that a small act of empathy that we extend toward others may seem insignificant to us, but can mean a world of a difference in someone’s life.
This was precisely the case when Joyce Rhinehart of Columbus, Ohio was out with her grandson one afternoon. She decided to take him to Rita’s Italian Ice for some ice cream after his tennis lesson. Right before they left, she notices another family enjoying their ice cream and decided to say hello and ask if they’d like a picture taken.
In a Facebook post describing the situation, she wrote, “Something urged me to ask them if I could take their picture, which they did not hesitate to agree.” She took the photo of the family and then proceeded to hand the phone over to the daughter so that she could text the picture over to their cell phone.
Rhinehart often suggests taking pictures of her family on special occasions so that they are able to preserve their memory, so she did not think much of her decision to take a picture of this family. She was glad that she was able to give the family something they can remember the day by, but she went on with her life.
After a week passed, she received a message on her phone from an unknown sender that said:
“Dear madam, you took our picture in front of Rita’s on June 8th. My wife has passed away yesterday and this is the last picture we have together as a family. Please accept my deepest gratitude for your kindness, it means the world to me. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.”
Upon receiving this message, Rhinehart texted the man back and forth several times, discovering that his wife had been battling a severe illness during the past year. While Rhinehart was understandably upset for the family and the loss they’ve endured, she was glad that she was able to grant them a final photo to remember her by.
In her Facebook post, she adds, “Never underestimate a simple act of random kindness.” She wrote, “My heart is heavy for this sweet family that I don’t even know and the tremendous gift that was left to them because I listened to my gut that day. I’m in awe!”
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