I have received many Christmas gifts over the years. The best gift I ever received was presented to me by a stranger. I never even knew his name and I only had contact with him for less than 60 seconds. His Christmas present to me changed the way I think about people and about Christmas.
I hate Black Friday sales. It's often a gathering of people who are there for many different reasons. Some are looking for a deal on that one item for their loved one, or perhaps themselves. Their intentions are completely unrelated to the festive time of year, and can merely be summed up with one word, "EBay!"
It was several years ago when my wife asked me to meet her at the local department store on Black Friday morning. They had advertised a child's bike that she wanted to purchase for our son. We stood with a very large crowd, waiting for the manager to blow the whistle. After a while the whistle blew. It was like throwing a bucket of chum into a tank of sharks. I told my wife that if we obtained a bike, fine, but if we did not, I was OK with that too.
As the pallet of bikes began to gradually decrease in size, I saw my polite opportunity to wrap my hands around the corner of one of the boxes. I lifted it off the crate and suddenly felt some mild resistance. I looked up to see one of the largest gentlemen I had ever seen in my life. Intimidating was not the word to describe his presence. He was adorned with numerous straps of metal spiked leather around both arms and even his neck. Tattoos were an obvious passion of his.
I started to relinquish the box but he gently pushed it back in my direction and back into my hands. He then directed it into my shopping cart. He looked at me, smiled, and said, "Merry Christmas."My wife and I went to the checkout, paid for the bike and went home. All the way home I was thinking that this moment was by far the best Christmas gift I had ever received. The kindness of a stranger that broke all preconceived notions I may have had of stereotypes and prejudices. The tenderness of a human heart in a simple act. I will never forget it.