In a day & age where presidential candidates need to run on a platform like “Make America Great Again”, I think we sometimes forget that America IS great. Perfect, no. Great, yes. We have the freedom to do anything we want. To chase any dream or goal that we can conjure up, regardless of how silly it might be to others. We have choices. What will you choose to do with today? How will you behave? As you think about that, I want you to ponder the word kindness. Definition provided by Google.
Part of being an American, and having a certain amount of freedoms, means that many of us are working very, very hard. We are known for big business deals and getting results. In the workplace, results are what matter and we all know that kindness and sympathy take a backseat to results. Many believe that we can’t empathize with our employees, vendors & business adversaries or we lose the edge and with it, a margin of profit. Everything centers around the bottom line.
We as individuals have hectic lives as we try to work, provide the best life possible for our children, and give them everything they need and more. Soccer practices, play dates, movies, shopping, school, gymnastics, martial arts, mommy & me swim lessons. And don’t forget to try to squeeze YOUR workout in amongst the chauffeuring, cooking, cleaning & working. We run ourselves into the ground at work and at home. We are stressed. Our little angels are less than appreciative of our efforts. That makes us grumpy. Yes, grumpy. We walk thru life wondering what we did wrong. We aren’t that “nice” person we were in our youth. We are abrupt and discourteous to others. We have high expectations and anyone who doesn’t meet those expectations is immediately dismissed as unworthy of our attention.
Sound familiar? Maybe not you, but you know the person I’m describing, right?. I see it all the time. I’m embarrassed to admit that at times, I am that person. But generally I try to be kind, generous, and help others.
If you ask my hubby, sometimes I’m kind to a fault, if there is such a thing. I’ve given food and $$ to homeless people all over the US. To be honest, if he actually knew what I’ve donated, or given away, over the 17 years of our marriage, he’d totally freak out but I guess the “cat is out of the bag” now. One example from our youth, we came out of a drinking establishment late at night. A women with children in the car approached us and needed $$. You know the story, she didn’t have gas, her boyfriend/hubby was abusive and she was trying to get to “Timbuktu” to make sure her children were safe. Yes, I gave the woman $20 for gas. Hubby says, “you know you just got scammed, right?”. Sure I knew. But I couldn’t go home in good conscious and go to bed knowing that those kids were being drug around in a car all night and “possibly” not safe. My response to hubby, “apparently she needs that $$ more than us”. Part of being kind is knowing that sometimes, people will take advantage. Sometimes you know and are willing to take the risk, other times you can be more savvy and go with your gut. But as a general rule of thumb, be kind. Give when you have money to give. Share food when you have food to share. Give a smile and be kind ALL THE TIME.
Sometimes, it’s the smallest acts of kindness that mean the most to others. Holding a door. Smiling. Offering a kind word. Yesterday, I let an elderly gentlemen in a wheelchair in front of me at the local Wal-Mart. He had a newspaper. I had $300 worth of groceries in my cart. No brainer, right? Why should he wait to pay for a newspaper when it would obviously take me “forever” to purchase all of my items. So I told him to go ahead of me. He said, “Oh, no, I’m not in a hurry. I’ve already been here for an hour.” I said, “Go ahead, I’m not in a hurry either”. Of course, I was in a hurry. I’ve got red, white & blue pumping thru these veins AND I’m an Aries. I’m ALWAYS in a hurry. I don’t walk to the mailbox in anything but a brisk, hurried manner. It’s my nature. I’m always in a hurry with a million thoughts running thru this brain, every second of every day. But that doesn’t mean that I don’t respect my elders and take time to help when I can. Letting this gentleman in front of me at the supermarket was second nature. Its what everyone would do, right? Well, apparently not. It meant something to this man. Something big.
Of course, I wasn’t paying attention. The line was long. The lady in front of the older gentleman & myself had a lot of groceries too. I was scanning the headlines of all the gossip magazines. I’m dying to know what’s going on with the crazy celebrities but I refuse to spend my hard earned $$ on “those” magazines. So when I glanced up from my scanning, I noticed the older gentleman paying for his paper & I started putting all my items on the belt for the cashier. I heard her say, “Your paper is just $1.” Then she tried to give $$ back to him. But I was busy, right, not paying attention. I heard him say, “No, that’s for her, I want to pay for her groceries”. I didn’t glance up but had the feeling he was talking about me. I mean, I was busy putting my groceries on the belt. I said, over my shoulder, “My groceries? Don’t pay for my groceries!”. He said, “It’s a gift, you can’t return a gift”. Then he wheeled away. I’m still putting my groceries on the belt and the cashier was lamenting about what she was supposed to do if my groceries didn’t add up to the amount of $$ he gave her. That brought me out of my fog because I knew what to do, not that I was ever a cashier but I’ve frequently paid part cash, part debit and told her the same. She had the money sitting to the side so she would remember to take it off. I could see a 5 and thought the gentleman donated $5 toward my groceries. Unnecessary but super sweet. Then as I was helping the cashier, I realized that was not a $5 bill but rather a $50 bill. Wow. I stopped in my tracks. Finally focused & paying attention. $50. I said, “He gave me $50?”. She said, “Yes, $50”. I was blown away. I mean really blown away. I’m tearing up as I write this now. It still moves me beyond words. Who does that? I’ve heard of “paying if forward” and a zillion people paying for each others coffee in the line at $tarbuck$ but not this. $50 he gave toward my groceries. Now you tell me that America is NOT great.
Thank you, kind sir. I know that you will never read this but I want you to know that I’m beyond appreciative of your kindness. I wish I knew what paper you purchased cuz I would write a letter to the editor. I still might write one to our local newspaper. I know you do not want to be thanked but please know that your kindness is an inspiration to all.
May we all be kind today and each day going forward. Being kind is contagious. Let’s go spread some kindness!
** Be Kind, Caring & Compassionate ** Amanda – TooTallFritz