Random Act of Kindness

Dear Sensenigs,

What an adorable tree! We haven’t gotten one yet, but we may still try to find one once we get to Savannah. Our cousin Karen did send us a bottle of essential oil of fir spray, since she knew we wouldn’t have a big tree but might want the RV to smell like Christmas, so at least it smells like holidays here! ­čÖé We definitely want to see your gingertardis – that sounds ambitious!

We’re leaving Charleston tomorrow, and we’ve been dragging our feet. But we have so many great memories (we added Caw Caw Swamp and the Provost Dungeon to the list since last writing), and one really amazing ROAK gift I wanted to tell you about.

The day before my birthday, we spent a couple of hours at Folly Beach, just playing in the sand and surf. It was really relaxing. As we headed back to the car, there was a dressed-to-the-nines family standing just at the edge of the sand, and we all smiled and greeted one another, and I cheerily suggested they remove their fancy shoes to feel the warm sand on their feet, and they all laughed. One of the men (his name is Al) asked me where we were from (our accents give us away immediately) and it turned out that in 1973, he was stationed at an army base near our hometown. We couldn’t believe the connection, and so we happily chatted for quite a while about that. He and his wife Pamela then asked if we were enjoying Charleston, and so of course I was quite enthusiastic and effusive in my compliments about the area. I may or may not have started waxing poetic about walking down the historic cobblestone streets and touching the actual buildings where so much happened in the past. I can’t help it, I love history! So Al then gets this big smile on his face and murmurs to Pamela something about showing me something from the trunk, and he heads to his car. I dump my armful of shoes, backpacks, and towels in our car (which is parked right next to theirs) and turn to see what he’s pulling out of the trunk.

Al’s┬ácar is immaculate, as you only see with people who no longer have young children, and his trunk has only one thing in it, a box. He seems to be unwrapping something; he turns around holding this little piece of artwork and as he puts it in my hand he says, “This is a slate from one of the houses on Rainbow Row, from the 1700’s.” Okay, I’m not kidding when I tell you that I am a history NUT, and so I gasp and just as I am about to make a comment about how amazing this is, he says, “It’s for you.” My next gasp was louder and I shook my head and tried to hand him back this beautiful gift, saying, “I couldn’t possibly!” and he let out this gorgeous, deep belly-laugh (he’s a very large, 6’4″ dark African-American man, for further context) and jokes conspiratorially to Abe, “She says she can’t take it, but there it is, right in her hands! How did that happen??” Oh my goodness, it was so funny. So I was given no choice but to accept this fine gift, letting them know that it was my birthday eve and nothing this generous had ever happened to me. I reached up and gave him a big hug, and as I gave Pamela a hug as well (she was laughing and gracious and proudly entertained by her husband), apparently Al gave Rhanna (who had come up behind us to see what was going on) a big hug and shook Abe’s hand, as if we were old friends and had all just shared in the most bonding of experiences.

These slates are handpainted on hurricane debris. This particular slate comes from 91 East Bay St., built in 1787, and painted by Jeanne Drucker.

These slates are handpainted on hurricane debris. This particular slate comes from 91 East Bay St., built in 1787, and painted by Jeanne Drucker.

We all parted ways at that point, and I am so regretful that I didn’t think to take a picture with them! I would have┬átreasured a photo of me, this little short white girl, with this towering, laughing, dark, fatherly man. He really exuded Love.┬áTheir names are Al and Pamela Campbell, but I can’t seem to find them online. . .maybe they were true angels. This was such an experience for me, not because of the exquisite gift, but because of the instant and joyful connection to people I wouldn’t normally have ever met. Really, a remarkable and cherished happening.

My slate come from #91,The Inglis Arch House; in this painting , it's the large pink house in the middle.

My slate come from #91,The Inglis Arch House; in this painting , it’s the large pink house in the middle.

Truly, these are Joyful Journeys, and I look forward to finding just the right moment to pass along a new Random Act of Kindness to someone else.

I hope you enjoy the rest of the pre-Christmas week, Sensenigs!



  1. I will respond in another post, but I am just crying…this is so beautiful, Kelli. For a stranger to touch your heart in such a way was truly meant for you, specifically you. Love to you all ­čÖé

  2. Brandy says:

    Wow! What a beautiful story! I’d like to believe they were real angels…