Random Acts of Kindness

Just about everyone responds positively to kindness. Oftentimes, it seems that truly happy people are kind. They wish well to others and they behave in ways that make other people smile.

I have been tossing this post topic around for a couple of weeks now. The main reason I didn’t write it right away is because I don’t want to cheapen the essence of this idea by broadcasting the actions that I have decided to take to kickstart my own random acts of kindness mission. Eventually, I decided that encouraging others to do good is by no means cheapening anything, so here it is! In case you are wondering why some of the stories are particularly vague however, that is the reason.

The one moment that changed everything for me happened just a day before Christmas. The act was simple and quick, but left me with such a happy feeling. I knew I had to continue the trend. In this particular instance, there was a very small window during which I could take action. In the seconds leading up to that instant, I was more nervous than I have been in years. I could feel my heart beating out of my chest. For some reason, I was panicking. I didn’t know how my intentions would be received (there always seems to be the rare possibility that your efforts or assistance could be taken as offensive). In that mode, I thought I had let the moment pass me by. It seemed like the chance to jump had come and gone.

I was so angry at myself. I was disgusted at my hesitation. The thought that I could have impacted someone’s life in a positive way, but let my nerves get in the way infuriated me.

Just then, the window opened once again and I jumped at the chance to do what I had planned to do all along.

The reaction was so overwhelming that it brought tears to my eyes. In the briefest of thanks, I saw so much earnest appreciation that I instantly vowed to never let my own inhibitions prevent me from doing something that I knew could brighten someone’s life or bring them some sort of relief, even if only for a fleeting second.

Of course, the idea is that the “fleeting second” will turn into something more. It will make an impact (perhaps just on one person), but with any luck, that one person will be moved  to do the same for others.

Everyone can do something nice. Sounds stupid, right? Sort of a no-brainer. But oftentimes, I can convince myself to not do something because it’s too expensive, or too “out-of-the-way”, or too complicated. Simple solution / note to self: pick something different to do. It can be priceless, quick or anonymous. Give me an excuse and I’ll give you an option.

Instead of perpetuating negativity and hurt, positive messages of respect and appreciation for others will spread.

There are plenty of things about myself that I’m not crazy about. Some of which, I am sure affect others from time to time. As strange as it sounds, I believe that addressing these quirks within myself could actually help to ensure the longevity of my kindness mission.  So if that’s where you need to start, I encourage you to do so.

Recently, I have had about 12,000 things swirling through my mind. Some exciting, some 110% nerve-wracking. Tonight I met up with Katie at a restaurant and we talked for hours.  Despite the time we spent, our individual orders totaled less than ten dollars.

In a strange twist of events, we happened to have the most perceptive, attentive waitress in the world (I have notoriously bad luck when it comes to waitress assignments. I have plenty of hilarious stories of fantastically awful service). This one appeared at just the right times, she didn’t act like I was a lunatic when (in my typical, overly-animated way) would be telling a story with my whole soul. She made her presence known so we didn’t feel like we had been plopped at a table on a desert island, but she also didn’t reappear every fifteen seconds to rush us away from the table once she realized our bills were next-to-nothing and we weren’t planning to order anything else.

Usually, I find myself trying to calculate the exact minimum tip to leave due to the terrible service. But tonight, I needed nothing more than an un-hurried night out with my friend and apparently, having a decent waitress made all of the difference in the world.

I left an unusually generous tip that Katie matched and I left a note at the top of the receipt that simply said “Thank you for being so nice!”

Monetary gifts are not at ALL what this project is about. In fact, the note at the top of the receipt may very well have been enough to brighten that waitress’s night, but being a waitress is zero fun. It was late and I was obnoxious, so I figured a couple of extra bucks would only add to it.

Tonight’s post is a little different than any others that I’ve written. Think of it as a challenge. A challenge to be good and do good. We all have quirks that can be worked out (presumably). And as I said before, anyone can do good. Choose something nice to do for someone else and do it. Don’t be afraid to share your stories. Tell your friends. Pass it along. Do good for others, but do good for yourself too.

Let me know what you do. I’d love to hear your stories.

Have a great night! I’ll be back tomorrow with some exciting Boot Camp updates!

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