Some assembly required

Probably because my husband is in the kitchen assembling our Christmas present, a new work island cabinet, I’m thinking about how many things require some assembly.

My family stays connected by e-mail and usually I’m the one that starts the weekly check-in. The messages connect everyone from my parents to my nieces and nephews. We live all across the United States, and over the ocean to the United Kingdom where my daughter and her husband live. We live, work, and breathe thousands of miles apart and several different time zones and it would be easy to lose track of each other. We don’t see each other very often and I imagine most families are like that. Effort has to be made to assemble.

Last night my sister sent a family e-mail and told us a story that happened at work. She works as a resource librarian in Kentucky. I thought I’d share this story of assembly, pieces that got put together to make success.

A week or so ago I was working and a young girl (maybe 12 or 13) came up to my desk and asked for help redeeming a gift card online. So I went over to where her brother was trying for the umpteenth time to enter the number on the back of the card. We tried a couple more times before I finally advised them to call the customer service number. She said they didn’t have a phone at home and no computer…so I let them use my cellphone and went back to my desk.

Then next thing I knew this little girl was back at my desk but this time holding back tears. Then the poor thing told me her story…it seems Rachael Ray had teamed up with the online company and chose Bullitt Lick Middle School in Shepherdsville Kentucky as the recipient of their holiday television special. Every single student in the whole school received from Rachael (via closed circuit television) a $150 gift card! Holy smokes, huh?

My little girl hung on to her card but when a classmate suggested they all write their names on them with magic marker, she turned hers over to the classmate…here’s where the story gets sorta murky…as it wasn’t until that evening that she discovered that the card was not in her notebook where she put it. So the next day my little girl asked her classmate for her gift card and the classmate says “oh, yeah, here it is” and gave it to her…that was the one we were trying to redeem at the library…and customer service told them there was no longer any money left on it!!!

So now my little girl is crying, telling me this story, and it turns out the family was counting on that money for all their christmas presents…and that she feared that her mother was going to be very, very angry. She also told me that she had mentioned it to the teacher but he just shrugged his shoulders and said, “Oh well.”

OK, here is where I turned into one big MOTHER…and I just wanted to wrap my arms around her and sympathize. The girl was so sweet and her older brother was so caring. I urged them to talk to their mom about what happened and that I thought they should try telling someone at the school, again, that she deserved a better answer than they got.

So after they left I got to thinking…but at that time I didn’t know which school or what the little girl’s name was…so I called company customer service and talked to a nice lady named Michelle…and I told her their story…I really didn’t ask for anything, but during the course of our conversations (over three phone calls because we kept getting disconnected) Michelle got permission from her supervisor to send me a replacement coupon worth $150 for me to give my little girl!!!

So the next day I called around and found out the school. I called the school and talked to a nice counselor who knew who I was talking about. So yesterday the little girl and her family came back into the library to thank me for what I had done. They were very, very nice, and quite compassionate regarding the girl who stole the money. It seems her parents made her pay restitution out of her college fund! My little girl’s name is Samantha, by the way. And just tonight, we got confirmation that a $150 coupon is waiting for them. I get the feeling that Samantha will somehow use the money to “pay it forward.” I got nice hugs from her and her mother…and I just so happened to have a little box of homemade caramels sitting on my desk that I gave them before they walked away!

I’m always proud of my tall sister so this story doesn’t surprise me. She wasn’t born with the skeptical gene like I was, and she seeks and voluntarily inserts herself to help. That’s a lesson to keep in mind. I think the Lord assembles us and lets us assemble our life situations. I think this assemblage is a solid work.

Be blessed this Christmas. Thanks for stopping by.


About Robin Arnold

Reader, writer, gardener, geek, maker of homes in several states, now settled in Virginia with husband Bob, and Hazel and Wilson the tabby cats.
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3 Responses to Some assembly required

  1. Robin, what a beautiful story. The amount of effort your sister put into this shows a great deal of compassion and heart. This is one thing I am going to try and grow this year. Sometimes I feel like the Grinch. (A Christian Grinch, though…) My heart is so small, and I hear stories like this and am inspired to find opportunities where I can also make some connections too.

  2. I agree, this is a great story. As I was reading it, I forgot where it came from and was surprised to be reminded, at the end, that it wasn't something in Guideposts (though it could be!) but much closer and more significant to you, your sister! Thank you for sharing it!

  3. Robin Arnold says:

    My sister has the perfect job for her. She gets to help people solve problems and find resources. She is also pretty much fearless and we were raised to move with authority and to not take no for an answer. Thank you both for your comments and for stopping by.

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