No, this isn’t a sponsored post.
It’s not really even about Hamburger Helper.
But who can resist this little guy?
Let’s start at the beginning.
The other day Ruth and I were at the grocery store. I needed to grab a few things for dinner, it was getting late in the evening, and I had a hungry family. So as I’m whisking up and down the aisles systematically gathering the items on my list I came to a halt.
There in front of the tomatoes was an older gentleman reading something on his phone.
I needed some tomatoes and this guys was not budging.
Ruth is in the cart fussing and I’m ready to go.
Why won’t this guy quit playing around on his phone and move out of the way?
Finally I say “Excuse me, can I just sneak past you and grab some tomatoes?”
“Sure” he says absent mindedly.
And I swoop in there and pile up the tomatoes.
Then as I’m turning to go he asks if I know how to make Beef Stroganoff.
Beef Stroganoff…do I know how to make Beef Stroganoff?
Well, does it have sour cream?
I’m not sure. I don’t think I’ve ever had it before. But that sounds reasonable enough.
Then he proceeds to tell me how his wife used to make it and he’d sure like some but doesn’t know how she made it…he’s been there googling it on his phone but the pictures don’t look like what she cooked…and he could swear it came out of a box.
I’m sorry. I really don’t know anything about Beef Stroganoff. Good luck with your hamburger and sour cream!
Thanks…it can’t be too bad…it’s hamburger and sour cream…right?
…as I continue zooming up and down the aisles I can’t stop thinking about that guy, who could have been my dad, that night eating hamburger mixed with sour cream.
First of all—how nasty is that going to be? And second of all, I couldn’t deal, it made me too sad. It just kept nagging at me…if that was my dad I’d want someone to make sure he ate better than the mess he was going to go home and invent.
Beef Stroganoff….Beef Stroganoff…Beef Stroganoff…
It doesn’t even sound like something I’d ever make…what the heck is it?
How can I help someone make something I’ve never even seen before?
And then I turn the corner and see a giant display of Hamburger Helper that was featuring nothing other than their 2 different Beef Stroganoff flavors!
It’s freaking Beef Stroganoff in a box!!!
Now I’ve got to find that guy again!
Where the heck is he?
If I was going fast before it was nothing to how quickly the wheels on the cart were spinning then but I couldn’t find him anywhere.
What if he’s already on his way home to make that terrible meal????
I know where he is!
And there he was…picking out sour cream.
Hey, Mr Beef Stroganoff!
I know what your wife did—she made Hamburger Helper!
YES!!! That’s it! That’s exactly what she made.
And then he said the most sincere thank you I’d heard in a long time, and I knew he meant it.
As I walked back up to the front of the store to pay for my groceries I started to think about what just happened. Why did I feel like I HAD TO HELP that man? Why did I feel so happy after I did? And how could a lousy box of Hamburger Helper make some guys night?
When I got home I started talking to my husband about it.
He thinks it’s just human nature—to see someone in need and feel compelled to help them. Maybe he’s right, but I didn’t see anyone else running around the store like they were on Supermarket Sweep to make sure that he didn’t eat cra-zapple for dinner.
Then I thought…maybe it’s because strangers have done nice things for me….the guy at Wal-Mart who let me go ahead of him in line when my baby was crying…the lady at the gas station who paid for my drink because it looked like I was having a bad day…or the guy at the fair who gave us a handful of tickets for us to use with our kids…
I have a hundred stories like that…I know what it feels like…and those small acts of kindness have, very literally, changed the course of my day.
I really believe that one kind act, no matter how small can transform a person…even if only for a moment.
I am sad that Skirting the Issue is coming to a close this year. Through out the month I’ve been lucky enough to hear from women working to transform the lives of other through their goodness. I love this project. I love seeing what you do. I love hearing your stories. The more kindness we can deliver into the world the better. Thank you to all of you out there doing the all the small things that make such a big difference.