The most unexpected example of Small Act Big Impact generosity literally knocked at my door one sunny Friday in September.

To say it had been a busy week for my household, would be an understatement.  My calendar was crammed with transitions to preschool, packing lunches, preparing for school presentations, and all of the responsibilities most parents associate with the pandemonium of September start-up.

In fact, I parked the car in front of my garage that afternoon, turned off the ignition, and sat still for a few extra seconds, relishing the peace… the quiet. I anticipated the barrage of questions and requests that would naturally ensue upon crossing the threshold of my home, the irresistible sticky hands and faces that would lovingly and insistently reach for comfort, and the general chaos of the dinner-bath-bedtime routine that every parent knows so well.

In that exact moment, my neighbour Danielle, a model-gorgeous, sunny-spirited, call-it-like-it-is single mom to an active and charismatic eight-year-old, greeted me with a smile and a wave from across the road as I emerged from my momentary sanctuary.

“Hi!” She called over, “How are you surviving September?”

“Oh fine! Things are good. Busy, but good,” I asserted.

“Here, I got you something…because, well… parenting,” she announced, smiling.

She thrust a bottle of her favourite red wine into my hand.

Grateful, I thanked her profusely and headed inside. I couldn’t shake her kindness out of my head. She understood!

That night, I contemplated different ways I could pay it forward to her. Then, I thought of the perfect idea.

In one of his famous motivational speeches, the comedian Jim Carrey says “the way that you affect others is the most valuable currency there is.” He elaborates, explaining that we all have special talents or passions that can make the world a better place. Part of the fun is figuring out the different ways you can serve those around you.

Well, those who know me, know I LOVE taking photos. Although I would never consider myself to be in the professional echelon of photographers, I can take a decent photo.

I wrote Danielle a note, including my phone number, thanking her for her kind gift. In the note, I offered to do a casual fall photoshoot with she and her son. I placed the note on her windshield the next morning.

That day, she texted and accepted my offer. “Thank you so much! A picture of us together is so rare, unless it’s a terrible selfie.”

One evening, the following week, we headed to a nearby Garry Oak Meadow to soak in the afternoon sun and take some pictures.

When I sent her the proofs, she was overjoyed and expressed: “What a gift! Thank you so much!”

Think about the skills that you can offer others, even if you are an amateur. You never know how your talent might benefit someone else.




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