Monday, December 20, 2010

Random Acts of Kindness

Simple random acts of kindness are especially contagious – you do something nice for someone, and it sets the mood for that person to carry that kindness forward to another person. And so on… And so on... And so on…

I was in the store about a couple months ago, and grocery bill for the gentleman in front of me came to $20.03. He had a $20 bill in his hand, and started to fumble in his pocket for an additional 3-cents, only to find that all he had was another $20 bill. The cashier looked at him with a look of “don’t you have a smaller bill?” and he looked back apologetically.

Without much thought, I reached into my pocket and pulled out a nickel and handed it to the cashier. The gentleman seemed almost embarrassed, and kindly insisted that I didn’t need to do that. I told him with a warm smile “It’s ok – just pass it on next time you see someone who needs 3-cents.” We both chuckled and he went on his way. Just a simple act of kindness. Nothing big.

A couple of weeks after that, I took my daughter to her friend’s farm where she helps care for the horses for her friend’s family. She was brushing one of the horses, and I was standing nearby watching. Her friend’s father came into the barn. When he saw us, he smiled and said hello. I had met him only once before, but never really had a chance to sit and chat. We got to talking, and at one point, he laughed and with a smile, he remarked, “Hey, by the way, thanks for the 3-cents at the store. I really wasn’t looking forward to getting $19.97 in change.” Ahhh – that’s why he looked familiar! But when I was in the store, I couldn’t place where I had seen or met him before.

I told him, ”No problem” -- a bit embarrassed myself that I hadn’t recognized him earlier when we were in line in the store. When I asked him kiddingly if he had found someone else along the way who had needed 3-cents, his face lit up and he proceeded to tell me a story of how he was at the gas station a few days after that, and had done the same thing to help another customer in line -- with a dollar-bill. He said he remembered that I mentioned to “pay it forward”.

Just a simple act of kindness.

Amazing… The ripple of kindness spreading as with a drop of water into a pond.

You may never know the full impact that your simple act of kindness will have as it gets carried forward to others. But isn’t enough to know that you have the power, with one simple act of kindness, to make a difference in the lives of others?

You can truly be an inspiration to others. What simple act of kindness have you shared?