I have written before about compassion, see, e.g., here and here, and while a simple example sometimes can serve as a basic way of illuminating a concept that requires little additional commentary, a second-level example almost always will. Such an example was buried in USA Today’s coverage this week of a story that started when someone went to a Kmart store in Grand Rapids for the purpose of anonymously paying off shoppers’ layaway accounts and others around the country began to follow suit. The following part of the story appeared in the final paragraph of the print edition’s version of the article and is tucked in the middle of the online version:
Lori Stearnes thought it was a joke when a Kmart in Omaha called to tell her that someone had paid the $58 balance on her account, which included toys for her youngest grandchildren. “It was a shock, of course, and then it just made me feel warm and fuzzy,” she says. Stearnes went back to Kmart and used the money she had set aside for the gifts to pay off two other layaway accounts.
Judy Keen, “Mystery donors paying off layaway accounts for needy,” USA Today (Dec. 21, 2011). Compassion in action requires little elaboration; repetition is welcome, however, and it doesn’t take an angel to do so.