"We are each other’s harvest.
we are each other's business.
we are each other's magnitude and bond."
—Gwendolyn Brooks (1917-2000), First African American to Receive the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry
A story in The Washington Post grabbed me (I read news from a variety of sources these days). It’s about a man whose bank card was declined and what happened. I offer it because noticing and sharing stories like this can affect us all positively – can motivate us to do kind acts, can even nudge us toward awe and self-transcendence which feels elevating and liberating.
Especially I noticed that some of my expectations were delightfully upset by this story. Some of my stereotypes were revealed. See if the same goes for you. And kudos to The Washington Post for carrying a story of the good, the kind, the compassionate, and kinship…even in the deep South.
Here are some excerpts:
Jason James Boudreaux was at the grocery checkout counter to buy seafood and drinks for a family dinner when the cashier told him that his bank card had been rejected for insufficient funds.
Boudreaux had deposited his Friday paycheck on the way to a grocery store in St. Martinville, La. — about 16 miles from Lafayette — and realized that the funds hadn’t yet posted to his account, he said. The total for his seafood and spirits was just over $30.
He thought he might have to return to the store later that day, Feb. 24, he said. But then the stranger he’d been talking to in the checkout line spoke up:
“I got you,” said Kevin Jones, 28.
“I told him, ‘Hey, what are you talking about? I can’t let you do that — that’s too much,” Boudreaux recalled. “But he insisted, and kept saying, ‘I got you.’
When I told him I would pay him back, he said, ‘No, you don’t have to.’”
Boudreaux, 46, said he was so touched by Jones’s kindness that he asked him to pose with him for a selfie on the spot in the grocery store.
“I thought, ‘I need him to be recognized. Here’s this young fellow helping an old cowboy,’” he said.
When he returned to his home, in nearby Catahoula, La., he posted the photo on his facebook page to thank Jones for his random act of kindness. He asked if anyone recognized Jones because he wanted to reach out to him.
One of Boudreaux’s friends recognized Jones, who lives a few towns over from where Boudreaux lives, and passed along Jones’s phone number. Boudreaux said he decided to invite Jones to join him and about 30 others for an afternoon meal at his place later that weekend.
“We call it ‘Family Day,’” he said. “We cook up some shrimp, some crawfish, some fried catfish, and invite a bunch of friends and cousins, people of all creeds and colors. Everyone is welcome.”
Jones agreed to come, and he and his wife, Marissa, lined up a relative to babysit for their three young daughters.
“Everything aligned for Kevin to be there at that moment,” Boudreaux said. “We became instant friends.”
“Jason is a kindred spirit — you aren’t going to find many people like him,” he said. “It was like destiny that I was standing behind him that day.”
Jones drives a concrete truck for a living and said he had stopped at the store to pick up some salt and ice for a crawfish boil he was planning for dinner.
When he saw that Boudreaux’s bank card had been declined, he said he didn’t think twice about stepping up.
“It can happen to anyone, and honestly, I’ve been in this situation before,” Jones said. “I’ve had my card declined and had to return groceries. I didn’t want him to have to go through that.”
Jones said he has always tried to look out for anyone in need.
“My mom taught me that,” he said. “My attitude is, ‘If I’ve got it, you’ve got it.’ I’m happy to help.”
Boudreaux is a former detective and patrol sergeant who now works for a funeral home as a sales and operations manager. When he worked in law enforcement, he often saw the worst side of people, he said, so he was surprised and delighted to experience kindness from a stranger.
“It’s about doing the right thing, and Kevin did just that,” he said. “When he said, ‘I got you,’ I felt embarrassed and blessed at the same time. He’s an incredible young gentleman.”
“What he (Jones) showcases is how good the hearts are of people in Louisiana at a time when people are divided over a million things, he acted to help Jason out of kindness and love.”
How might we all journey to The Good Life by noticing and sharing stories of kindness and compassion and kinship?
(Please share with me, I’ll pass them on to others if you wish, with love, June)