Heart of the Home: Hershey Chocolates Were a Thoughtful Gesture

A reader talks about her grandmother's random acts of kindness shown to her elderly neighbor, and how that neighbor repaid the kindness with Hershey chocolates and an antique desk.

| Fall 2017

  • A well-maintained oak roll-top desk and chair.
    Photo by Getty Images/RASimon

As a young girl, I always looked forward to spending time at my grandma’s house each summer. A kind woman raised on a farm in Kentucky, she always had a jar full of cookies and a pie on the counter.

Up the street from her home in a quiet neighborhood amongst the Blue Ridge Mountains, an elderly man who was no longer able to drive lived alone, since his wife had moved into a nursing home. Every week, my grandma would pick him up in her late 1970s mint-green Oldsmobile, and off we would go to the grocery store. We’d take our time, pushing our cart up and down each aisle, my grandma happily chatting in her Southern accent.

On the first trip, when we got to the candy aisle, the man picked out a bag of Hershey chocolates and placed them in the cart. As we finished shopping and headed through the parking lot, he picked up the bag of chocolates and silently handed them to me. I was excited to receive a whole bag of chocolates, but, even as a child, I understood that this was his way of saying thank you.

It was a simple act of kindness toward the granddaughter of the woman who showed him kindness. Each shopping trip after that, there were chocolates quietly added to the cart for me.

Decades later, whenever I see a bag of Hershey chocolates, I am reminded of the kindness shared between my grandma and her elderly neighbor.

The neighbor man has been gone for many years now, but his antique desk – passed on first to my grandma, and then to me – sits in my living room. That desk is a tangible reminder of my grandma’s kind heart and of the importance of caring for our neighbors.

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