Day 18: Hand Out Scratch-Offs to Strangers

“A little thought and a little kindness are often worth more than a great deal of money.” –John Ruskin


My Grandma Paula was your typical devout Catholic. She attended church every Sunday, loved Friday fish fries during Lent, and spent most Saturday nights down at the Bingo hall of the Holy Trinity Catholic Church. Among those three, I believe she secretly enjoyed Bingo the most. When I turned 18, my grandma was so thrilled that I could now go to bingo with her that she gifted me with bingo markers, a magnetic board wiper, and my own lucky cards. Every 18-year-olds dream gift.

This love of bingo extended to other games of chance. She’d diligently put her quarters down on the spinning wheel games at the church festival, buy the occasional lottery ticket, and on special occasions, surprise me with scratch-off tickets she purchased on her way over to babysit my sister and me.  We would sit down at the kitchen table together, pick out a lucky penny, and meticulous scratch off one area of the card at a time, letting the suspense build with each new number reveal.

I love my Grandma Paula and still miss her a lot, even though it’s been five years since she passed. I miss her goofy dancing. Her feel-better back rubs. Making perogies and kolachi during the holidays. The hours spent playing games. The way she always let me wear the Pretty Pretty Princess tiara even if I lost. The geometric designs she would cut my bologna and cheese slices into when I was young. She was a kind woman with a vibrant personality.

IMG_2200My mom recently gave me a roll of quarters that she found in her bedroom. She said Grandma had given it to her as a Birthday gift the year she passed away. This didn’t surprise me since my Grandma, who lost a lot of her memory but none of her spunk as she aged, frequently gifted people with random amounts of change in her later years. My mom told me to put it toward my random acts of kindness project because Grandma Paula would have like it.

When I got those $10 I immediately knew what I wanted to do with it. I went out and bought ten $1 scratch-offs to give away. I attached my RAOK print-out and a penny for scratching to each card. This afternoon my mom, Oliver, and I went to the mall to shop for a Birthday present. As we went from store to store I handed them out to the employees that approached us. They were usually confused at first until I explained it was a small random act of kindness.

I won’t ever know if any of those employees won, but that’s okay. Because win or lose, for a little while today I got to bring to life the kindness my Grandma shared with those around her every day of her life. And that’s always a win.

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