Story from a friend of mine, he said I could share it here.
A month ago, at the Puyallup Spring Fair, we were wrapping up the night with one last run down the giant slide. It was late, and time to get my toddler home. I think she'd done that slide with my wife seven times, or so.
They were just coming down and I heard a little girl crying. Paternal autopilot kicked in and I looked around. There was a mom trying to console a wailing child as she kept pointing to a family in line for the slide.
I took a risk and asked if it was because she wanted to go down the slide. The mom looked a little embarrassed and said "We don't have enough tickets."
I replied "I have lots, and we're done. Would it be okay if I pay?"
A brief embarrassed awkwardness for both of us, and she accepted, and her little one beamed as she jumped in line.
I felt good about that, and collected my family and we went home.
A month later, I'm sitting at the McDonald's play place, and this woman says "It is you!"
It was her, and her kids, and she and the little girl thanked me again. That one ride had made their entire night. The little girl had screamed with joy the entire way down. I admit, my heart swelled with pride
Small actions. Being a little attentive to the world around us. Small gifts of time, or money (that was $3.50 worth of tickets for the ride), and what might have been an evening of misery and broken heart for that child and her family turned into a positive memory for years.
Small actions can make big heroes.