Gift Card #43

Trip Start Jan 06, 2011
Trip End May 24, 2011

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Flag of United States  , North Dakota
Friday, April 15, 2011

It had kind of seemed like we've been in a bit of a gift card drought. It hadn't been, we believe, for lack of trying. We really tried our best to keep diligent eyes and ears out for opportunities to give. But really--we'd been spending a third of our days in our van, another third sleep, and the other third in schools. We'd been criss-crossing the Dakotas and going for long stretches without seeing another soul. Plain and simple, we really just hadn't found anyone to bless with a giftcard.

I decided to put that streak to an end.

We stayed in Wahpeton, a tiny little town south of Fargo, North Dakota. We had just completed our last school in the Plains, so we felt as if a huge burden had been lifted from our shoulders. We looked forward the weeks to come--we have one week in Missouri, and then we'll have the remainder of the semester in Texas. But we had to make the long drive south. We planned to go a more eastern route so we could visit friends in Minneapolis and Iowa.

But we first had to make camp in Wahpeton. It's about as glamorous as it's name sounds. We booked a chain hotel, but it was one of the worst of its brand. The only redeeming factor was its low price. But it was understandably cheap. We tried to find a place to go out to eat, so we found some semi-chain restaurant for dinner, but it wasn't great. We were there a little after the main dinner time, so it was awkward, and the food wasn't awesome enough to get us excited. But we retired for the night and woke up the next morning to bust on over to Minneapolis. As we were packing up, I felt the desire to write a thank-you note for the housekeeper, and to include  card for Walmart. I assumed someone in Wahpeton could get to some Walmart somewhere.

The note read,

"Dear Housekeeping,
My wife and I stay in a new hotel every night for our work. We've been on the road for almost two years, and this is the first time we've done this. But I just felt the need to say thank you for your work here. We appreciate it, and hope that this little note and Walmart card can be of some encouragement to you. Thanks again,
- Mike and Kelsey"

That was it. I put the note and the gift card in an envelope, sealed it, and left it on the desk. With that, we left, never to return to North Dakota again (at least that we can see). There are always people who need encouragement, and we might not always even meet them. Random acts of generosity might just be what it takes to get out of a giving drought.
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