Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Random Acts of Kindness

The other day someone pinned a blog on Pinterest that I loved: http://mixmingleglow.com/blog/?p=1358. Essentially this woman decided on her birthday to spend the day with her family doing 38 random acts of kindness…one for each year she has been alive. She lists all the things she did and the reactions from people. Things like buying coffee for the person behind her in line to helping an older gentleman with his groceries. Great stuff!

I had a situation a few weeks ago where I was buying lunch from a food truck in downtown Boston and the guy taking my order said he’d like to give me a free drink…I just had to select what I wanted. I literally had no words. My immediate thoughts were “What does he want” and “Why is he giving me a free drink?” I almost said no because it was so weird. And it’s sad that it’s weird. Why is it so strange when people do nice things? Ultimately, the free drink guy was just trying to get me to try their ice teas so hopefully when I come back I’ll order one next time. But to me, it felt like a little gift that day when he randomly selected me.
Whether you have done a little act of kindness or been the recipient of one, it puts you in a totally different frame of mind. And you start paying it forward and doing more for others. I guess the question is, why don’t we do it more often?

After reading the blog, I decided I would try and do one little “RAOK” a day. How hard could it be, I thought? Well, last week was week one -  I thought I would give it a shot and I quickly realized I need to be more aware of what is going on around me. I certainly have time to commit an act of kindness especially with the amount of time I spend commuting, but I haven’t found any opportunities. I think we get so caught up in routines and being absorbed in our thoughts,  that it takes effort to see outside ourselves. At least that’s the excuse I’m going with for now.
Finally! Last Thursday, a guy was coming out of my work elevator with a bike. Well, he was fumbling to get his bike out of the elevator while the door kept trying to shut on him. So, I waited and then held the front door of the building open for him. He was so surprised that I waited and held the door that he said thank you three times. It made me feel good to be able to help him.

Riding my random act of kindness high, when I was at the grocery store last Sunday I found another opportunity. I heard a mother saying to her child “Hurry up! Just find someone that works here and tell him what is going on!” I looked over and found a mom holding a jug of apple cider while it dripped all over the floor. And here is where an awkward random act of kindness comes in. I went over to help her. First I took her cell phone out of her hand because it was getting wet. That was good. But, then I attempted to wrap a plastic grocery bag around the jug while she said “Ah…if I move my finger, it will squirt out all over the place”. I kept going at it with the bag until her finger came off and then the cider squirted her in the face. Okay, not helpful. Thankfully the worker from the grocery store appeared and took care of it. In hindsight this was more just an act of trying to be helpful so don't think it really counts. That and...I wasn't even very helpful.
Bottom line, this is harder than I thought. But, I’m going to keep at it. What was the last random act of kindness you did or someone did to you?

1 comment:

  1. This might sound very silly. I work in an elementary school so I see kids from all grades in the hall everyday. I usually pick a little girl or little boy and tell them I like something about them. I might say to a little girl you smile very pretty or I like the way you behave in line. They light up and from then on they always smile and wave to me. I don't tell anyone I do this, I like it to be just between me and the students. For that split second they know someone notices them.

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