Very nice story...and your wife sounds like a very practical lady. Reminds me of a time in downtown DC, a beggar lady with the cup in hand. Well, once I made eye contact, I felt compelled to drop something in the cup. I thought for sure I had a couple of ones or maybe a five, but when I pulled cash out of my pocket, all I had was 20's. Now the delimma...well, I was too deep in to back out now, as she looked at me with need written all over her. I dropped the 20 in the cup, she said thanks and I moved on. Can't help but wonder (I'm sure this makes me sound like a real heel, but I'm actually not) if I was scammed. I live in small town, USA and pretty much used to everybody minding their own business. But, I sure agree with the lady in the grocery store. It never hurts to help somebody out.
Very true NUHusker, and there are times when it seems that the person asking is a little too smug, or a little too anxious, but then I try to put myself in the place that person occupies and I normally relent.
It goes back a long way to the time that I lived in South America and was told not to give money to street beggars, since as a local said, "they are fakers!" I guess I never bought into that theory, then or now.
Over the years I have met many people over the world and I have either wanted something from them. or vice-versa. So I try to pay it forward in small ways.
"paying it "forward" is a truly noble endeavor. one note of caution, it depends on the same robust involvement of those behind you in the chain. My method is to simply begin the process with random acts of kindness and do not concern myself with whatever chain of events follows. It's simply an "in the moment" event. works for me....
The most noble of noble endeavors is when you give something with no expectation of getting thanks for that effort. I have often done things for people who never knew that I was the benefactor. And it does not have a monetary gift--just helping someone who needs a boost, pretending that an idea was theirs, giving them credit for work that they participated in but did not lead, that kind of thing.
We might all learn that taking time to share is not something that you do in hopes of basking in the glow of recognition for that act, but an act of kindness.