To celebrate “Random Acts of Kindness Week,” the good folks at Sprocket Ink challenged crew members to weave the theme into this week’s submissions.
Rather than profile some kind person in the news or report on something good that happened recently, I decided to
take the easy way out share my own personal thoughts on kindness.
Perhaps I’m naive, but I believe that, generally speaking, human beings are kind. Unfortunately, we don’t always see it. In the media, good news is drowned out by stories of hatred, violence, and suffering. In our own lives, drama and strife tend to shift our focus away from the good things going on around us.
Every so often, we hear stories of epic kindness, like a secret Santa giving away hundred-dollar bills to victims of Hurricane Sandy or an outpouring of gifts to survivors of the Newtown Massacre. While these stories are inspiring, and the acts overwhelmingly important, we also need to recognize and celebrate the day-to-day acts of kindness of ordinary people. I’m talking about people who are polite to those around them, who hold the door for others, and don’t think twice about lending a hand to a stranger.
I’m am by no means perfect and I have behaved in ways, more times than I would like to admit, that are the antithesis of being kind. However, I always strive to be as polite as possible in any situation, so much so that it has become second nature.
I hold doors for people, I’m always sure to say please and thank you, and if I can help someone “in the moment,” I do so… just because.
Last week I went to a local convenience store to purchase my morning coffee. I had a tough time finding a parking spot, there was a long line, and I was running late for work. I was annoyed and I was in a rush. After paying for my coffee, I raced out the door and headed for my car. From the corner of my eye, I noticed someone just steps away from the entrance to the store.
“You should have held the door for that man,” I said to myself as I continued walking.
I took a few more steps and paused. I looked back and saw an elderly man shuffling toward the door.
“You’re an asshole,” I whispered and, without hesitation, I darted toward him.
I was too late. By the time I reached him, he already had a grip on the handle and the door halfway open.
“I’m sorry,” I said, putting my hand on his shoulder.
“For what,” he asked.
“I should have held the door for you, sir,” I replied as I put my hand across the heavy door and helped him as he slowly crossed the threshold.
“Ah, that’s okay,” he said, waving me off. “Thank you.”
It wasn’t okay. I felt guilty for the next few days. I should have been more aware of my surroundings. I should have seen him struggling up the walkway. I should have been more patient.
Nothing upsets me more than feeling ignored. I hate it when someone slams a door in my face, cuts me in line, or doesn’t have the common decency to at least pretend to be friendly.
Maybe that’s why I feel so bad when I forget to be kind.
For Random Acts of Kindness week, I would ask that everyone assess how they treat the people around them, whether they be strangers or loved ones.
Do you smile at passersby? Do you treat your servers with respect? Do you hold the door for the person behind you, even when it’s inconvenient?
We can’t all be philanthropists and organ donors, but we can all be heroes of kindness if we just get into the routine of being mindful of those around us.