So I had a chance to be kind today….and it felt great. Kindness is so easy, yet also forgotten so easily. That is one of the saddest commentaries on humanity. Cruelty takes considerably more energy yet many of us fall into the rut of it far more complacently. We convince ourselves it’s too much effort. Don’t get me wrong, most of us aren’t out there being blatantly cruel. But most of us won’t take the extra second to do the simple things that communicate kindness.
Today, when entering a restaurant with a co-worker of mine, I saw a gentleman sitting against the building. I said hello and continued to walk inside, but I knew I had to do something in my spirit. I tried to the focus on the menu for a few seconds, but the noise inside myself was so great I turned haphazardly to my co-worker and blurted, “I’m sorry I have to go back outside.” I walked over to the man and asked if he were hungry. He looked a bit startled that I was even standing next to him and just as he was searching my face, a friend of his came out of what I assume was the bathroom. I asked again, “Have you eaten today? Would you like something to eat?” They both replied they were hungry, and yes they would like to eat. I then teased them and smiled as we talked about menu preference or being picky.
I went back into the restaurant and ordered three meals – one for me and one for each of my two new friends. (The coolest part, once I explained to my co-worker why I just ordered three meals she was touched and wanted to help as well). As I waited in line, I wondered how many people may have offered and never ordered or gone out the other door to avoid contact with them. One of the workers went out the door the restaurant and I prayed silently that she did not make them leave the property before their food was ready. I probably startled the girl at the counter when I bolted up as soon as they called my name. I handed my food to my co-worker and headed out the door, hot food in hand. As I handed it to them they were so appreciative. I didn’t fill their drink cups because I didn’t know what they wanted and as one re-entered the restaurant (perhaps the designated drink getter :)), he again thanked me and told me “God Bless You”. The smile that crept across my face was not there because of what he said, but more the internal conversation I was having in my head that went a little something like this, “No, He chose me today to be the agent to bless you. He gave to me so that I may have enough to share with you – and so I will. Today, you are my chance to be kind.”
If you are reading this, I challenge you to start a wave of kindness too. Don’t have cash to buy an extra meal? Try to:
1. Compliment someone on something – their eyes, their smile, the way they cook.
2. Push the grocery store cart to the return for an elderly person or a mom with so many kids she can’t easily tear away and run it back. The 10 steps might as well be a mile.
3. Buy the person behind you (or in front of you) a coffee.
4. Use the grocery store clerk’s name and make eye contact with them.
5. Give a bigger tip than you have to – because you can.
6. Invite a neighbor to dinner.
7. Write a compliment letter and leave it for someone.
8. Run an errand for someone who does not have time or means to do it.
9. Hold the door for a stranger.
10. Call a friend that you haven’t spoken to in awhile.
This is of course one of the shortest lists of kindness ever. Opportunities abound, if you don’t like these ideas, think of your own. The key, look for that moment of kindness and seize it!