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Following Saturday afternoon’s Bromfield and Groton-Dunstable boys soccer match at Depot Field in Harvard, a woman approached me grinning ear-to-ear.

She complimented me on the camera that I always have with me on the sidelines. To which I replied with the standard “thank you.” But as I watched the lady go greet her grandson, her smile was the sunshine on a gloomy and windy October day.

Come to find out the woman and her husband came all the way up from Chatham to see their grandson, Nate Dutkewych, a player on the Bromfield soccer team. When she finally got to see Nate after head coach Tom Hill talked to the team, I decided that I should do something nice for them.

I flicked my camera on and took a few pictures of the woman and Nate together without their knowing. Then, I did the same when the grandfather came over after speaking with coach Hill.

As I approached the grandmother, whose name was Marta, she still had that huge smile on her face. I whipped out my camera and showed her the photos I had snapped of her, her husband and Nate.

She asked how she could obtain the photos, and if she could pay me?

We exchanged e-mail addresses, and I sent her the photos free of charge.

Why? She didn’t ask me to take them, nor did I feel it was right to charge her for a photo of her own grandchild. Her pure elation when she saw her grandson’s face and gratitude she showed toward me for capturing the picture was payment enough.

That’s the problem with today’s society: everyone is out there to make a profit. Like the window washer in the city, who scrubs your windows even though you don’t ask him to. He or she still expects a couple of dollars in return, even if they never say it. Like my father always said, “nothing in life is ever free. There is always some sort of exception.”

Except in this case, Dad.

I saw a lovely family that had not seen each other in over a year. Marta told me in an e-mail that the trip to Harvard was already a memorable one because they got to see their grandson play, but I made it even more memorable because of the photo I took of them, she said.

Shooting photos of young athletes gives me a sense of joy. It allows me to provide people of the community with visual reminders of their glory days — something I very rarely got while I was in high school. For all I know, there were people snapping photos of us all the time, but chances are the ones of me didn’t make the cut. Even if I do not use a photo in the newspaper edition, I try to at least get the photo to the coach of the player.There were only three times I appeared in the paper.

One was when I was 10 and I hit the league championship-clinching walk-off double in the sixth inning, and the others were for wrestling and football.

The football picture is kind of humorous to me now that I look back at it. The photo appeared on the front page of our local newspaper, The Clinton Item. It featured an 18-year-old me with a deer in the headlights look and a scruffy beard getting chewed out by our coach in the third quarter of a loss at Lunenburg.

The photo appeared on my birthday, and at the time I was kind of embarrassed.But that’s beside the point.

My point is, be kind to everyone you meet, and if you can make someone smile, do it. Don’t expect payment for everything you do.

Sometimes the look of pure joy on their faces is worth more than any dollar amount.

Follow Ed Niser on Twitter/Tout: @EdNiser.

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