Last weekend, I drove by a Starbucks in Lafayette, Louisiana. It looks like any other Starbucks. A long line of cars wrapped around the building as people waited for their beverages and/or food orders. The iconic Starbucks logo was prominent on the sign in front. It’s where I spent many hours preparing sermons and Bible classes and having coffee with friends during our time in Lafayette. It’s just like any other Starbucks.
Except, this Starbucks has a special meaning for me and it’s where I learned a valuable lesson. One Saturday morning, several years ago, Davidson and I went there for breakfast. He played on his computer while I read. After being there for about an hour, we left to meet Misty and go about our day together.
About an hour after we left, I received a Facebook message from someone whom I had never met. His name was Bret, and he was letting me know that he found my wallet in the parking lot at Starbucks. As I climbed into our SUV it had fallen out of my pocket. I didn’t even realize that it was missing. He had turned the wallet into the staff at Starbucks and just wanted me to know that he had found the wallet and it was safe. I thanked him profusely and told him I would treat him to coffee one day. We became Facebook friends and we occasionally commented on each other’s posts.
Until I saw a post on Bret’s page that he had been involved in a serious car accident. He had suffered brain trauma and his prognosis was uncertain. For the next few days, his brother provided updates until he posted the sad news that Bret had passed away from his injuries. His friends and family were devastated. By all accounts, Bret was a kind, caring, fun-hearted man.
Bret taught me the importance of kindness. He didn’t have to turn in my wallet. He could have taken it or just simply walked away from it for someone else to find. Yet, he took the time to find it, make sure it was safe and then take the additional step of searching for me on Facebook. His kindness was a blessing to me. Kindness is always a blessing.
Bret’s passing also reminded me of the importance of each day. I had every intention of meeting Bret for coffee and thanking him in person. I just never made the invitation. I thought I had plenty of time and would make it happen one day. Bret was younger than I was. We had all the time in the world to get together. But we didn’t. Life is fragile and can change in a second. I was reminded to stop putting off those conversations and interactions that need to take place. We think we have time. Often, we don’t have as much time as we think.
Be kind. Don’t put off those things that need to be done now to bless others and to build and deepen relationships. I’m thankful for Bret and the lessons and reminders that he gave me even though we never met. His kindness was a blessing to me.