My two sisters and I don’t see each other very often. One lives in New Jersey, one lives in South Carolina (near Charlotte, North Carolina), and of course, I’m here in Illinois. We decided to get together during the holidays in South Carolina.

On Christmas Eve we went to a nearby restaurant in Charlotte. I don’t remember what we talked about while dining, but I do remember my oldest sister getting all “kitchy-kooish” over a baby seated at an adjoining table.

The food was great. The menu offered several “Southern” dishes, so I decided to order grits instead of hash browns. This part of South/North Carolina is experiencing a real intermingling of cultures as more and more “Yankees” relocate to this area (my sister included). In fact, the owners of the restaurant are “Yankees” who moved to Charlotte from a town near my hometown in New Jersey.

Anyway, at the end of our meal, the waitress came over and told us that we were the recipients of a random act of kindness. A woman had paid for our meal, stating that our oldest sister reminded her of someone she knew when she was a child. The woman wanted to remain anonymous.

Oh, my goodness. Our mouths dropped. We were really surprised and very touched by this woman’s kindness. We joked with our sister about needing her with us when we went to restaurants. But all joking aside, this stranger’s kind act really made the holiday season special and eternally memorable. It also reminded us of how much a kind deed can mean to others.

Well, it’s a new year. All of us would benefit from making acts of kindness a part of everyday life, whether planned or random.

Happy New Year!

Peggy Tarr

Peggy Tarr has been a columnist for the Evanston RoundTable since its founding in 1998. Born in Bruce Springsteen's hometown of Freehold, New Jersey, she graduated from Rutgers University with a degree...