A simple outing for a refreshing summer treat turned into the opportunity of a lifetime for one well-meaning grandma. When Joyce Rhinehart took her excited grandson Blake out for ice cream after his tennis lesson, they happened upon a family that would never be the same again.
Joyce spied a family sitting down enjoying ice cream together at Rita’s Italian Ice. For some odd reason, Joyce felt compelled to offer to take their picture. She acted upon that feeling and the family said yes.
The grandma snapped a photo, then handed her cell phone to the young daughter in the family and instructed her to text the picture to one of their cell phones. After their brief encounter, both groups moved on with their day. Little did Joyce know that her gesture meant the world to that family.
“I left to take Blake home and explained to him how I have done this before when I see cute family moments of total strangers so they can have the memory. Usually, I do this on vacation.”
A few days after the impromptu photo shoot, Joyce received a text from an unknown number. She was curious and read the message. An unsettled feeling came over her. It read:
“Dear Madam, you took our picture in front of Rita’s on June 8th. My wife passed away yesterday and this is the last picture we have together as a family. Please accept my deepest gratitude for your kindness, it means the world to me. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.”
Joyce was saddened by the message and learning of the mother’s passing. But she also felt comforted by the fact that her random act of kindness meant the world to this family who heartbreakingly lost their matriarch.
It turns out that the mom and wife had been sick for a year. She felt well enough that day to go out for ice cream with her husband and kids. No one knew that that would be the last photo they’d ever take together.
Joyce turned to Facebook to encourage others to act upon such opportunities as the one she did. You never know just how much it might mean to someone else.
“Never underestimate a simple act of random kindness. My heart is heavy for this sweet family that I don’t even know and the tremendous gift that was left to them because I listened to my gut that day. I’m in awe! This has the hand of God all over it!”
It’s incredible that Joyce had a sudden urge, an internal prompting, to offer to take the family’s photo and even more amazing that the family agreed to this stranger’s gesture. Now, it’s the last bit of memorabilia they have to treasure of their mother and wife.
God places certain people in our paths. This is a wonderful reminder to think of others, because you never know just how much your actions might mean to them.