Kindness does not equal chain letters

Okay, I never saw the movie “Pay It Forward”. I knew it had the kid from that movie where he sees dead people. I am unfortunately, one of those unremarkable people who don’t watch movies or television very much. I actually watch a lot of youtube, and my favorite youtube thus far is still that faboo guy who danced to Beyonce’s “Single Ladies” video.

Paying it forward is more like amish bread...

Paying it forward is more like amish bread...

BUT…

I did watch Amelie and I think it might’ve had the same premise: Do Something Good For Someone Else. Just do it. Just be nice. Be kind. Be generous. To… a stranger. Enjoy the fact that you’ve made the world a better place. Repeat.

A friend of mine introduced me to the concept of “random acts of kindness“. (God, I loved this man!) Whenever we were together, he would do things like: buy a drink for the homeless guy on the corner, help change a tire, give strangers rides if they looked tired and had a bunch of bags. With him, everyday was an adventure! Everyday became, “What good thing can I do today?” “What good thing do I GET to do today?” I could see that It became easier to see when people needed a helping hand.

But I was different. I myself, avert my eyes when I drive by homeless people. I turn up my nose and walk fast on streets marked with urine. I do what I do, and I stick to my schedule. No-time-sorry-I-don’t-have-any-money-maybe-later-next-time-I-gotta-go-bye!

Today on this fine Saturday morning, I happened to be driving on my way to work. The sun was shining a pleasant 75 degrees. And oh yeah. In the right hand turn lane, there was a man convulsing.

Now when one sees that, one thinks, “Is that guy for real?” “Does he need help?” “It looks like he’ll be okay.” “Did he fall and is he just getting up?” “Maybe he dropped something.” “No, that looks bad.” “What the hell can I do?.” Most appalling: cars are slowing down- not to HELP him, mind you- but to drive AROUND him.

Wow. I ‘get’ to do something nice for someone!

But first….

Disbelief.
Anger.
Panic.
Self-doubt.
Paralysis.
Paralysis.
Paralysis.
Paralysis.
Franticness.
An ambulance!
Communication.
Relief.

All a blur.

And then, as he sat breathlessly on the curb, EMTs finally giving him the attention he needed… there was a moment when I was able to look at this guy straight in the eyes. He was asian, about 60 years old, had cataracts, and was dressed in imitation Tommy Hillfiger. He looked as if he was going for a walk to the grocery store. He could have very well been my dad.

Here I thought I was finally being a hero by helping him (yay! Karma points for me!), but in truth, that man was being a hero to me. In that brief moment, his fear and pain and subsequent recovery made me very aware of a person I had been ignoring for a bit.

Altruism is its own reward, they say. And it’s addictive, this feeling of giving and receiving positive energy. Today I gave a little bit of time and in return, I received a message.

I took that message and went to work. I went to a show. I went out for late-night eats. Then I came home… with a small maple-glazed donut with sprinkles. “Dad, want a donut?” My dad looked up from his computer, his eyes slowly lighting up with a surprised delight.

A donut. It was my first REAL random act of kindness for the day. And for tonight, it was enough. Tomorrow will be another adventure.

4 thoughts on “Kindness does not equal chain letters

  1. Quite simply…. You rock!

    Thanks for you post and your random act of kindness, but most of all sharing your self-revelation. So often we forget that while we’re human – that we’re human. Our daily lives catches up with us and we ignore those around us because we can only see ourselves and our own problems forgetting those who, right in front of us at times, have problems that could be equally or greater than ours. I wish that more people had this revelation about one simple act of kindness and how it can instantly change us. Maybe then we would be able to start connecting people, communities, and maybe even our country, because man our we disconnected….

    Thank you

  2. Thank you for this! Reading it warmed my heart. The comment above mine was so well written, and sums up my feelings pretty well. It’s true, though. More people need to take time out to just be kind. Even if it’s the simplest of acts, like holding the door for a mom pushing a stroller (I always appreciate this when people think to do it for me), or giving the person ahead of you in line the extra change when they don’t have quite enough. Lots of little steps can make a big difference over time.

  3. Simple acts of kindness go a long way. It just doesn’t make headlines. Just today, the guy at Rite Aid had a few cents so instead of charging my bank account $36.03, he only charged $36.00. 3 cents. But it made me feel like he saw me as a person. Life can be good. It’s all around us if we do it ourselves. BTW: Thanks you to YOU for your warm words!

  4. But then again, maybe I’m just blowing sunshine out my butt! >:) Nah…..

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