Jeez, maybe the Mayans were right, but their calendar was a few months off. After reading about the twenty, six and seven year old students and six teachers gunned down by a crazy man in Connecticut I began to wonder. Then on the heal of that tragedy, the idiot that set fire to his house in upstate New York, so that he could gun down firefighters and policemen- I really began to wonder. “What the heck is wrong with this world?”
Then I remembered Jayden Lamb. His death (God rest his soul) provided the most memorable holiday story for me. Not only memorable, but it made me believe, what I always have- the great majority of the people of this world are good and kind.
Jayden died of a rare form of cancer on November 27 at Mid-Michigan Medical Center in Midland. The 8-year-old had been battling the dreaded disease for 2 ½ years. His last words to his family were, “I’m never going to get married, GOD NEEDS ME MORE.” A couple of days after his father and stepmom buried Jayden, they were in line for a cup of coffee at a Midland Starbucks. They decided to pay for the order of the car behind them in the drive thru as simple gesture of their appreciation for what the area had done for Jayden.
That gesture turned viral. Soon a lot of people in central Michigan were performing acts of kindness in memory of Jayden. A waitress at a local restaurant received a $50 tip with a note attached, “In memory of Jayden Lamb, Merry Christmas. Another lady got her entire lay away paid off, and a Salvation Army kettle was the recipient of a diamond ring with a note attached that said, “Paying it forward, Jayden style.
That phrase is becoming more and more familiar as anonymous good Samaritans are buying lunches for strangers all over central Michigan. Heck, even my wife had her McDonald’s order paid by the vehicle in front of hers about a week ago in Clare. These acts of kindness are happening more and more frequently as people latch on to the true meaning of the holidays and others simply remember Jayden Lamb, and his legacy.
And for me, I will leave 2012, remembering what Jayden said on his death bed, and the acts of kindness his words and legacy spawned. I suppose I could dwell on the violence and idiocy that has been carried out by the deranged pyscopaths that dominate our news. I could prepare for the world to end, because darn it, the ancient Mayans couldn’t have been wrong.
No 2012, and every year for that matter, belongs to the acts of kindness that rarely reach the news desk. There are millions of people that do nice things for others. They are the true heroes of our existence on this planet. Why not become one of them?
Next time you’re in line at your favorite fast food establishment, tell the order taker to “pay if forward, Jayden style.” I know I will.