Great Escape Podcast episode 12 - A Little Escape - generosity

Uncategorized Jul 18, 2019

Little Escape episodes are recorded wherever I am and usually have a lower level of audio finesse.

I was talking with a friend the other day and in our conversation, the idea or concept of generosity came up. We both talked about stories we've heard of people having their restaurant bills paid for them by some anonymous donor, somebody else in the restaurant. This has actually happened to my family and myself. We were on holiday about10 years ago in Florida, my ex-wife and our three children, sitting in a restaurant in the middle of Florida enjoying a meal, and at the end of the meal we came to pay our bill and the waitress said,
"No, you're good to go, somebody else has paid your bill."

We were deeply blessed by that and very touched, it was a random act of kindness. It was a random act of kindness that we, it was a random act of kindness that we weren't expecting, that we weren't able really to say thank you to the donor or the giver. We said to the waitress, you know,

"Please let them know that we're very grateful," and she said she would, but that's not the same as looking somebody in the eye and saying thank you, and that's been an event that has stuck with me for the last decade and challenged me frequently to be more randomly generous. My conversation with my friend got me thinking about the nature of generosity and about the people who we choose to bless in this way. One of the things that always been something that I've struggled with a bit when I've tried to replicate that, when I've been sitting in a restaurant looking around thinking, "Which of the people around me am I going to pay the bill for?" And I don't do it very often, maybe once a year, and I realized just while thinking about this recently that it's very easy to be generous to somebody like yourself. It's very easy to look around a restaurant which will basically be filled with people who can fundamentally afford to eat in that restaurant. They wouldn't be there otherwise. So yes, that random act of kindness makes their day better, but they would have eaten there anyway. So my challenge both to myself and to you is how can we find ways of being generous to people who can't afford it, who aren't like us, who perhaps need that generosity more, and find a way of blessing people who actually could really do with the blessing, not just who might appreciate the blessing? I think the other thing that's really, really important when just being generous like that is not to look for the thank you, is not to be expecting to feel good out of the back of it. It's all too obvious that some people give to charity as a way of making themselves feel better. What they want is the status of being a donor to that charity or the thank you from the grateful starving or whatever it is. So my thought to myself is how can I find ways of being generous to people who a, won't be able to thank me necessarily and b, will be truly blessed by what I've done for them without any expectation of reward or recognition. Almost just for the fun of it, just for the joy of knowing that you had a positive impact on somebody else's life who really needed it in that moment. I remember once when my business was really struggling many, many years ago, I heard a knock on the door and it was the postman, so I opened the door and he needed me to sign for a brown paper envelope and I thought, "Oh great, this is some legal summons,
"one of the creditors is finally chasing their debt." I signed for the envelope and I held it in my hand and I remember leaning against the wall in the hall of my house and my knees buckled and I just sort of ended up sitting on the floor in the hall holding this envelope thinking, "Of all the rubbish that's happened in the last weeks and months, what horror does this envelope contain?" I opened the envelope and within it was £500 in cash. There was no letter, there was no who it was from, there was no note to say anything. It was just £500 in cash which meant that that particular Christmas could happen, it meant that we could pay the mortgage that month. It meant an immense amount to me and at the time, I had no idea who it had come from. I had no way of thanking them, no way of letting them know what it meant to me. In a way, that made that simple act of kindness and incredible generosity so much more valuable to me because this person had just wanted to reach into our lives and change things. Now, the secret, which won't be a secret once I've said it, is that a few months later, I was handed something that somebody had hand-written and it was the same handwriting. Absolutely sure it was the same handwriting. So from that moment I was able to identify who the gift-giver had been, and I've never said to them personally, face to face, I know it was you, thank you very much. What I have done is when I knew they were in a meeting that I was at, I told this story, and told the group how grateful I was to this anonymous donor, so I have had the opportunity to thank them in a generic case, but I still want to recognize their desire in that moment to be anonymous, their desire in that moment not to have me call them up and thank them. I want to leave you with that thought. Is their somebody you know who is going through the mill right now? Whose family are struggling financially, who's just had an unexpected bill? And actually, you could write them a check, you could put a few hundred dollars or a few hundred pounds or even just $10 or £10 in an envelope and put it through their letterbox and just get out there and bless somebody for no reason other than it's actually really fun to do it. If you're enjoying The Great Escape Podcast, please do share it with somebody you think might really be blessed by this podcast. If you're able to like and thumbs up on social media or on the podcast platform on iTunes or Stitcher or Spotify, that really helps the podcast get out to other listeners and I'd really appreciate it. If you want to get hold of me or just send me a message, tell me what you think of the podcast, tell me or ask me to cover particular subjects or something, please tweet me @StuartLMorris, email me, [email protected], and if you want to find old episodes, they're all on the website, Talk to you later.

The Great Escape titles music was created by Darren Reddick

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