Have you noticed a random act of kindness lately?
When you turn on the news, it is usually about negative incidents like crimes, disasters or killings. These days, good deeds make the headlines when it is about something spectacular or done by a celebrity. What about the little acts of kindness by normal everyday people? It is about time we give them the proper recognition too.
This though occurred to me while riding on the subway one morning on my way to a job fair. I had finished reading my free paper and was mulling over what to do next until I got to my stop. Normally people say to count sheep if you want to sleep or count cars when you are in a long drive. I decided to count any random act of kindness for one whole day to re-affirm that there are still many good people out there.
A quick replay of my morning already gave me two acts of kindness to start of my list. My husband patiently waited for me to get ready without complain and dropped me off at the subway instead of making me walk to the bus stop.
Number three was the young woman handing out the free newspaper near the subway entrance. She folded each newspaper and handed them to you so you didn’t have to bend and pick it out of a pile. Anyone caught in the morning rush knows that even the 5 seconds you save here counts a lot.
My number four was a person on the subway train giving up her seat for an elderly woman with a cane. These nice people are a rare breed since I have heard many stories about rude people remaining in their seats whilst a pregnant or senior person tried to keep their balance on the train. Kudos to you anonymous kind person!
My phone beeps and I check to see a text from my husband wishing me good luck in my job hunt. That’s number five and a good way to cheer me up!
I make a stop for breakfast and coffee at my old haunting ground. The dear familiar face of the server greets me like a long-lost friend. She still remembered my favourite food and coffee cup size I ordered. Over the years, she had become a good friend to me and my breakfast buddies and it was wonderful to catch up on news with them. One of my close friends also did a personal favour and hand-delivered a present for my daughter though she didn’t have to. That makes six and seven random acts of kindness.
After my short break, I continued on my journey.
Good deed number eight was a kind gentleman who tried to keep the train door open for a woman intent on charging the door even after the warning chime sounded. I do think it was a foolish thing to try to keep the door open with your hands. You could get hurt. However, the man had good intentions and luckily the woman made it inside just in time. No casualties there, whew!
I finally get to the end of my subway ride and into the underground maze. Needless to say, I ended up in the wrong north tower. The security guard I approached patiently gave me great directions to the right place. That ninth good deed saved me from being late.
Waiting in line to pay for my admission ticket, I overheard two women behind me helping each other out. They had just met that day and had apparently struck up a quick camaraderie between them. One said that they should meet up in an hour or two at a certain spot so the other woman would not get lost. Who knows, maybe they will end up as good friends? I will mark this as number ten.
At the job fair I attended, there was a line at the booths that offered a résumé review service. The people were kind enough to line up in an orderly fashion. They even helped the curious find out what the line was for. I count this as a collective kindness, my number eleven; because the people in line were helping others get their bearings.
The twelfth act of kindness was from the young student in charge of a training booth. She was doing her job well and gave everyone a bonus with her friendly smile. I visited almost all the booths at the job fair but this booth stood out because she was genuinely happy to help those who came by for information. A smile can really work wonders.
On my way back from my business downtown, I see number thirteen, someone who decided to throw the newspapers left on the train in the recycling bin instead of leaving them on the seats. It is a small thing but it helps keep the environment clean and commuters gain a clean seat.
Later, one of my children sends me a text to remind me that she would be late because she volunteered to help create the props for the upcoming school play. I appreciated the reminder and felt proud that she offered her help in school. Our neighbour was very kind to give my daughter a ride home from school too. That’s three more good deeds which ups my count to sixteen.
At the dinner table, I also learned my daughter and her whole class had visited a seniors’ home that day to help cheer them up. It is commendable that the school encourages the community spirit in their students. That is a great number seventeen.
That evening, I see more little acts of kindness at home: a sister helping to take care of the baby, a daughter bringing a drink of water to a parent, a parent preparing meals for the children, and a father gathering the trash for garbage day. Maybe there were more but these were the kind acts I noticed. Twenty-one good deeds in one day is a great thing!
Sometimes, these small little acts of kindness happen around us they but go by unnoticed and unappreciated. If we take the time to look up from our newspaper or book on the subway, or take a moment to really look at the person we are talking to, we just might realize the act of kindness directed at us. It can come from your family, friends or even complete strangers.
It really doesn’t take much effort. All you need to do is look for the good in what is happening and acknowledge it by saying thank you or smiling back. This can start your day on a happier note, improve your mood and maybe even push you to pay the kindness forward.
I challenge you to list the random acts of kindness you find in one day. Perhaps you will surprise yourself. I hope to hear your story!