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Random acts of kindness
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Editor, I wanted to write regarding my visit to Hinesville during the last two weeks. I am originally from New York and came here to see my sister to cheer her up because of her husband’s recent deployment to Iraq.
Today I was reading your newspaper instead of packing to go back to New York. I’m glad I did because when I saw the picture of Mr. Michael Smiley, The Frame Gallery owner, I had to write to tell you about the recent random act of kindness he showed me and a lot of other people the night of the Christmas parade.
As you are aware, the weather was rainy and cold, very cold. My sister, as well as myself and my 3-year-old daughter were standing in front of The Frame Gallery to watch the parade. While we were waiting for the parade to begin, we went inside his store and were very impressed with all of the decorations and lights. For a short moment, I felt like I was back in New York. The store was beautiful and even smelled like Christmas.
Mr. Smiley greeted us at the door and asked us if we would like some coffee or hot chocolate. We graciously accepted and strolled around the store. I just knew that the prices would be high because of the style and class of the store. Boy, I was wrong. It was very reasonable and I was really impressed. It seemed too good to be true. Do you know that feeling?
Anyway, the parade was nearby so we went back outside to watch. While we were outside, Mr. Smiley came out, gave everyone around his store free hot chocolate and coffee, candy canes for the children, and even gave people blankets and pillows to sit on and cover their children from the wind and rain.
While the parade was in front of us, my daughter had to go to the bathroom. I could not find a restroom. She wet her pants and started to cry. I went inside Mr. Smiley’s store to ask for some paper towels and told him what happened. My daughter was still crying and he actually spoke kindly to her and she stopped crying. Out of the blue, he and his wife asked me what size pants did she wear. He went to the back of the store and brought out a pair of pants and gave them to me for my daughter. They fit her. I went to the restroom and changed her into the dry pants.
When I came out of the restroom, I asked him how he got them and he told me they were a gift for his niece that he had just wrapped. He did not want my daughter to be cold in wet pants. He gave them to me free! He gave my daughter a Christmas ornament and put a smile on her face. I could not thank him enough, he was so kind and generous.
Before the parade was over, he and his wife came outside and gave away at least 20 ornaments to the children and $10 gift cards to his store. All he said was “Tis the season and merry Christmas” The people around me were saying how nice they were and they had never been given anything for nothing. What a truly nice couple. I hope their hearts are touched in a special way for showing all of us this random kindness.
Hinesville is very fortunate to have a business such as theirs and I will never forget my trip here and I will tell this story to friends and family when I get home. I will also tell my daughter when she gets old enough to understand the meaning of “giving.” I will be sending a copy of this letter to Mr. and Mrs. Smiley with a note thanking them for being so kind and generous to me. May their business prosper and life be blessed. What a great little town Hinesville is.

Merry Christmas!
Jan Vickery
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