How long does an act of kindness take?

With everything that has happened this week, I find myself wondering what I can do in my little corner of the world to make a difference. Then I thought about three things I had done in the last week that had touched three different people.
 
A week ago, Rollin and I were working in the garage on his car (okay, I was supervising more than helping, truth be told), and I had gone inside to get us a couple of bottles of cold water. I handed one to him and just as I started to open mine, I looked across the street and saw a gentleman walking in the hot sun. I called out to him as I walked down the driveway, and handed him my bottle of water. He looked shocked. I said, “You look like you need this more than I do.” He thanked me, I told him to have a good day and walked back up my driveway. Took maybe 30 seconds. Rollin asked me why I had done it, and I said, “Because he was sweating a lot, looked very hot and I felt like he needed it more than I did. What did it cost me?” He said, “A few steps and maybe 50 cents.” I pointed out that wasn’t very much to give comfort to someone else. “‘Do unto others as you would have him do unto you’,” I told him as I went inside to get another bottle of water.
 
Wednesday, as I sat with Buddy in the waiting room at Texas Oncology, this beautiful older black lady (and she IS a lady) sat down in a chair, propping her cane against the chair next to her. She was dressed in a beautiful blue and green outfit that reminded me of the colors of a peacock. She wore a wide brim straw hat that matched her outfit perfectly. A diamond ring sparkled on her left hand that held a clipboard. She started looking for the pen that had been on the clipboard, but couldn’t find it. I glanced down at the floor and saw the pen under the chair next to her. “Hold on, ma’am, I see it,” I told her as I hurried over. “I’ll get it for you.” I knelt down, reached under the chair, grabbed the pen and handed it to her. “Well, aren’t you such a sweet thing!” she said with a huge smile on her face. “Thank you so much, honey.” “You’re very welcome, ma’am,” I said, returning her smile. I nodded at her and returned to my seat. Took maybe 30 seconds.
 
Today, I was at Lowe’s (Danger, Will Robinson, Danger!), pushing a cart of cut cedar boards. I noticed a gentleman trying to maneuver a cart up against one of the shelves. He reached up to a shelf that was about chin high on him, and started to pull down a huge board of plywood. I pushed my cart to the side, walked over, grabbed the other end and helped him slide it off the shelf and put it on his cart. “How many more do you need, sir?” “Just one more.” So we each grabbed our ends and slid another one off the shelf, putting it on top of the other one. He thanked me, I smiled and said, “You’re welcome. You have a good day.” He told me to do the same, I grabbed my cart and walked off. Took maybe 2 minutes.
 
In less than 3 minutes, three small acts of kindness shocked, surprised and touched three different people. If we all took the time to do that for a stranger, regardless of who they are, don’t you think the world would be a better place? Granted, it isn’t always easy to do or say something nice for someone, for they are bound and determined to hate you no matter what you do. I currently find myself in a situation where I need to protect someone I love from someone who is not always kind to me, but it has blown up in my face, and I am now on the outside, feeling helpless to do anything. All I can do is support the one I love, and support the decision that they have made. I do love them both, each in their own way. But that doesn’t mean I’ll stop trying to be kind to the people who cross my path, even if it is just to smile, nod and say hello. How much time does that take? Is it worth the few seconds it takes to be nice to another human being? How does it feel when someone you don’t know does something nice for you? Pay it forward and share that feeling with someone else. A small gesture may mean more to them than you could ever know.

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2 responses to “How long does an act of kindness take?

  1. Michelle F.

    My dad is 90 years old and wears his Merchant Marines veteran cap when we go away and sometimes people thank him for his service. At Kroger one of the guys working there even got my dad a free frozen DiGiorno pizza (he put a sticker on it to mark it as free). And a few times people have paid for his groceries when he didn’t have enough money (he has dementia).

    • I was shooting pool with some friends the other night, when I noticed a gentleman a few tables over wearing a Vietnam Veteran shirt. Being the daughter of a Vietnam Vet, I excused myself and walked over to him. I held out my hand and thanked him for his service, telling him that my dad had also been in Vietnam. We chatted for a couple of minutes, I thanked him again and went back to my friends. They asked why I had gone over to talk to the gentleman, and I told them. They nodded as if to say they understood. Obama said it best the other day: that we need to make sure and honor these Vietnam Veterans who did not get the recognition they deserved when they came home all those years ago. My father-in-law is also a veteran of two wars. It only takes a moment to go over, shake a hand and say “Thank you for your service”. My thanks to your father, Michelle, for his service. 🙂

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