This post is a movie review for Thor : Ragnarok , though I don’t really plan on talking about the movie very much. It was an excellent comic book movie in the same tongue-in-cheek comedy tradition as Guardians of the Galaxy. It made me laugh and made me cheer. It was the best of that kind of movie. But it wasn’t the most important thing that happened that night.
You see, I spent the weekend in the hospital thinking I had suffered a heart attack during the Thanksgiving holiday. I thought I was facing surgery at the very least. I knew I might have had an appointment to play chess with the Grim Reaper. It is a lot to worry about and drain all the fun out of life.
Well, one of the things that happened that day, Tuesday, my first full day out of the hospital and, hopefully, out of the woods over heart attacks, was that I received my new replacement bank card because my old one had a worn out, malfunctioning chip in it. So, I took my three kids to the movie at the cheapest place we could find. I tried to run my bank card for the payment, and it was summarily declined. I had activated it previously during the day, and there was plenty of money in the account compared to the price, but it just wouldn’t take. So I had to call Wells Fargo to find out whatever the new reason was for them to hate me. It turned out that it had already been activated, but a glitch had caused it to decline the charge. While I was talking to the girl from the Wells Fargo help desk, the lady who had gotten her and her husband’s tickets right before us put four tickets to the movie in my hand.
The middle-aged black couple had lingered by the ticket stand before going in to their movie just long enough to see a sad-looking old man with raggedy author’s beard and long Gandalf hair get turned down by the cheap-cinema ticket-taking teenager because the old coot’s one and only bank card was declined. They were moved to take matters into their own hands and paid for our tickets themselves.
That, you see, was the gift from my title. Not so much that we got our movie tickets for free, but that the world still works that way. There are still good people with empathetic and golden hearts willing to step in and do things to make the world a little bit better place. The gift they gave me was the reassurance that, as bad and black as the world full of fascists that we have come to live in has become, it still has goodness and fellow feeling in it. People are still moved to pay things forward and make good on the promise to “love one another”. I did not have a chance to thank them properly. I was on the phone with Wells Fargo girl when it happened. The only thing that couple got out of their good deed was thank-yous from my children and the knowledge that they had done something wonderful. I plan to pay it forward as soon as I have the opportunity. Not out of guilt or obligation, but because I need to be able to feel that feeling too at some point.
I do have one further gift to offer the world.
After we got home from the movie, I opened an email that contained the cover proof for my novel, Magical Miss Morgan. Soon I will have that in print also if I can keep Page Publishing from messing it up at the last moments before printing. It is a novel about what a good teacher is and does. It is the second best thing I have ever written.
Sometimes the gifts that you most desperately need come in unexpected fashion.