Thursdays Random Acts of Kindness: When Guests Pay It Forward A Follow-Up

On September 11th we shared with you the story of Robin Schumaker and her amazing plan to spend HER birthday in Hollywood Studios giving fifty other guests gifts in the blog titled “Thursdays Random Acts of Kindness: When Guests Pay It Forward“. Robin has since completed her trip and was wonderful enough to write a guest blog about her day of giving.

rak2-300x198My 50th Birthday at Hollywood Studios by Guest Blogger Robin Schumaker

I had the pleasure of meeting a number of new people on my 50th birthday during my visit to Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Although I can’t remember all of the names of the 50 people I gave the gifts to, the brief conversational exchanges I had with complete strangers and the expressions on their faces when I presented them with a small gift is something I will never forget.

I must admit that I worried a little about folks thinking that what I was doing was a bit strange. The little bit of apprehension I felt melted away during my first random encounter with a family I met while waiting for the morning parade. Seating was at a premium, but I found a spot right behind a few people who lined the curb with backpacks to reserve seats for their families. As a stood behind the backpacks, I noticed a family of four behind me with little girls (about ages 5 and 7). When the two young girls tried to squeeze in to sit on the curb, they were rather abruptly told they couldn’t sit there because the seats were saved. Without comment, the obviously disappointed girls retreated back to their parents. Since the crowd began to grow, and most folks standing near me (in the second row) were considerably taller, I knew the two girls would have little chance of even catching a glance of Anna or Elsa. I stepped back and asked the girls’ parents if it would be okay if they took my place in row two so they could see the parade. Both parents thanked me and the girls leaped into place to see the parade. Their parents and I had more fun watching the girls squeal as they took pictures of the cast members in the parade and finally, Anna and Elsa. At the end of the parade as it was “snowing,” I told the girls’ parents it was my birthday, that I was an educator, and that I had some birthday gifts to give away to celebrate my special day. I asked if it would be okay with them if I gave their daughters a gift. They graciously accepted. The girls each selected an Elsa and Anna lanyard with a wallet. I also gave the mother and father a Disney gift card and a Frozen T-shirt. They were very appreciative and their smiles were priceless. They asked to take a picture together and the two girls signed my birthday card. What a great way to start my day.

photo 1Throughout the day, I was reminded of the openness and playful spirit of children. As my husband, daughter, and I were waiting for the Little Mermaid show, there were a ton of children waiting with us to enter the show. I gave away a number of Kermit and Miss Piggy pencil sets while we were waiting (all with their parents’ permission of course). One very animated, energetic little boy opened his pencils. Within a few minutes he began a pencil sword fight first with his sister, and then, with about 7 other kids. Rather than being upset, the parents and I laughed and laughed for about a minute at the creative play. No injuries occurred and the sword fight was ultimately ceased. One lady commented that she thought the random gifting was a great idea and that “she would have to remember to do something similar on her 50th birthday.”

Later in the afternoon, we went to the Frozen Sing-Along Show. Much to my surprise, when we went to get tin the fast pass line, one of the CMs said that they added our names to the VIP list because of my special birthday and sent us to a private entrance. The show was something I had been waiting for all day, so you can imagine how excited I was to be in a VIP line. My husband, daughter and I were the first people to enter the theatre. We were escorted down to seats in the 3rd row, center stage. I was absolutely blown away by this unexpected surprise. When other people entered the theatre, four young ladies from Japan were seated to my left. They saw my special button and wished my happy birthday. They spoke very little English and I spoke absolutely no Japanese, but somehow we communicated very easily. I gave each of the young ladies Frozen lanyards. Two of thy young ladies began to well up with tears and thanked me profusely. I was very touched and humbled by their gratefulness. When the show started we all “Let It Go” in many different languages. What fun.

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Directly behind me, a little girl (who was the spitting image of Elsa as a child) was sitting on her mother’s lap. She sang all of the songs with such joy and animation. After   the show I complimented the little girl for her singing and Elsa-like movements. I told her mother that I was sure she was going to grow up to be the next Elsa. I gave her daughter one of the new Elsa Sparkle Dolls. Without hesitation, she accepted. I will NEVER forget the look on that child’s (and mother’s face). It was priceless.

I had other joyful encounters with the random people I met. From the little boy who couldn’t stop kissing the Mickey Mouse figure I gave him to the amazing cast members who wished me a magical day, I will never forget the first and best birthday party of my life. Each encounter with a person I randomly met that day was somewhat different, but the common element was simply pure joy. I am so blessed and so grateful. These magical 50th birthday memories will remain with me forever.

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