Here is a Christmas story that I wrote 20 years ago. The story is popular with editors of books, magazines and newspapers — it’s been published 25 times! It’s even been in the Chicken Soup for the Soul… Christmas book and another called Christmas… God’s Way (shown in the photo).
The story is permitted to be sold multiple times as I always sell articles for one-time rights, which means the editor agrees to only use it one time, then the rights revert back to me. This is the recommended method of selling stories so you can retain control of them.
The baby is my daughter Lindsay who is now 22 years old. The location will be familiar to people from my hometown – the alley behind the courthouse.
I hope you enjoy it.
A Lesson in Forgiveness
It was snowing as I finished unbuckling my baby from her car seat. A toot from behind reminded me that I was holding up traffic on the one-way street.
I didn’t care. My six-month-old had to get an immunization shot, which meant she would be up all night with a fever. My head ached like I was coming down with the flu and my husband’s job didn’t look steady for the holidays. I wasn’t in a good mood.
The truck tooted its horn again. When I finally had my little one in my arms and covered from the cold air, I looked up and felt my heart sink. I had inadvertently parked in a delivery zone. A look at the name printed on the truck confirmed that I was parked in its delivery zone.
Angry at myself for not noticing the sign sooner, I put my baby back into the car and looked down the street. The nearest empty place was more than a block away. Gritting my teeth, I was tempted to go home and reschedule my baby’s vaccination for a day when things were going better, but I didn’t.
After managing to park in a tight spot, I again got ready to get out of my car. Glancing up, I saw someone waiting for me outside. I knew it was the truck driver. Bracing myself for a verbal attack, I slowly emerged from the car.
“Sorry about that back there.” A strong note of apology rang in the man’s voice. I looked at him suspiciously. He was actually grinning at me!
“I saw you had a baby,” he continued, “but there wasn’t any other place big enough for me to park in.”
I managed to stammer my own apology, though I was completely taken aback by his friendly manner. Like Scrooge, I wondered if this was a setup.
“I’d like to give you this.” The stranger held out a coffee mug with his company’s name on the side. He didn’t wait for my reply, but shouted “Merry Christmas” and sprinted away, as fast as he dared on the slick pavement.
I stared after him, the coffee mug still in my hand. As the snow continued to fall steadily around me, a warm feeling spread throughout my body and I smiled for the first time all day.
At home that coffee mug serves as a constant reminder to me of the way that driver showed unexpected kindness and forgiveness to me that day. As I drink from it each day, it also reminds me of the way God forgives each of us when we least deserve it.
Using the coffee mug each morning as I begin my day inspires me to work on showing that same kindness and forgiveness to everyone I will meet — clerks, cashiers, complete strangers — not just at Christmas, but every day of the year.