I keep hearing people talk about ‘random acts of kindness week’ or ‘random acts of kindness month’. What’s wrong with daily? Those close to me will know that I try to do something daily for a complete stranger that helps them in some way, maybe that makes them smile or even makes their daily life that little bit easier.
I don’t do them so that I will be rewarded; I don’t do them so that people can praise me for ‘all the good work I have been doing’. I just do it because it makes me feel good; I hope that it makes them feel good – and wouldn’t this world be a better place if everyone did the same?
Examples of acts could be; letting someone go in front of me in a queue if they look like they’re in a hurry, talking to an elderly person (and giving them some time) if they start up a conversation with me and even just letting someone out in front of me in a traffic jam.
At the beginning of February it was really icy, and as I hurried along the pavement to a meeting, I realised that it as very icy indeed. Coming towards me was a lady in her 80s looking a bit unsteady on her feet. I stopped, smiled, and warned that it was really icy along the pavement and to take care. She smiled up at me and showed me that she was wearing her sturdy wellington boots. Not just any boots, she said, but a pair she had owned for a year and this was their maiden voyage!
Yes I was late, and yes I didn’t have much time, but I stopped and had a conversation with her about her fab wellies and just how awful the weather was at the moment. As she left she said to me as she touched my arm “Thanks dear. Most people are in too much of a hurry nowadays to stop and talk.” That made ME smile, and I had given her nothing but some of my time.
A few weeks ago, I visited The Pavilion Theatre in Bournemouth to see Anton and Erin (Strictly Ballroom Dancers) and had a seat just three rows from the front. I went with my best friend and as the interval approached, we decided to pop over the road to the cinema, where not only would the toilets be quieter, but we could grab some pic ‘n mix as well.
The audience were, on average, at least forty years our senior and as we were sitting mid-row, these oldies had to get up to let us pass. As the couple next to us got up, I heard the woman say to the man “well I would quite like an ice-cream but I haven’t the energy to go”. I stopped and said “would you like me to get you both one?”
After the shock had passed and they had argued about three times with me how I shouldn’t have to, I told them I wouldn’t take no for an answer and discovered their favourite flavour was strawberry. I rushed over the road, bought my own sweeties, realised the cinema sold nicer ice cream than the theatre and bought two ‘strawberry cheesecake’ flavours.
We rushed back, got back to our seats and gave the couple their ice creams. I started to refuse the money they offered me, but realised that was perhaps going a bit far (and I still undercharged them). People close to where we were sitting had heard everything and all were smiling. At me. I was going there anyway, it took two minutes out of my time, and it made two strangers happy.
Acts of kindness – big OR small. Start doing them and start to feel good, making others feel good in the process.