Every year, as a way of saying thank you to our enlisted servicemembers and helping make the holidays a little brighter for them, our spouses' association here does an event called Commissary Surprise.
We have a line item in our budget set aside for this, and during the holiday season, at random, our executive board members will go to the commissary for an hour at a time and will let the cashiers know we're there. When an enlisted member or dependent, rank E5 or below comes to pay for his or her groceries, the cashiers wave us over. We come, introduce ourselves, and let them know that as a way of thanking them for their service, we want to pay for their groceries today.
Seeing the happy, shocked, and sometimes tearful looks in peoples' faces is SO rewarding and it just brightens up your whole day. Today, TLS and I went and did this at our commissary. In less than an hour, we were able to give back over $640! It was such a wonderful feeling. I loved hearing the stories from people of how we had made their day. One airman was sick and was out getting meds and soup, etc. before going back to his dorm to sleep it off and was having a bad day. Another was out shopping with his wife and child who just turned 1 and they had a cart full of baby food and diapers. Another couple was dual military. The husband had just gotten home from deployment and their cart totaled nearly $200 because the wife was cooking a big dinner to thank their neighbors of taking care of her while her husband was gone.
This was just such a mood brightener and exactly what I needed to start off the holiday season on a positive note after having had a rough couple days. I left the commissary feeling lighter than air and with a huge smile on my face!