Carry out a random act of kindness, with no expectation of reward, safe in the knowledge that one day someone might do the same for you. ~ Princess Diana
I may be taking liberties here, but I would change Princess Diana’s words to “…one day someone will do the same for you.”
In today’s world of political turmoil with angry people regularly spewing venom at each other, there certainly does not appear to be much kindness. The news media often highlight the cruelty of people toward each other.
But I believe there are far more people doing acts of kindness than acts of cruelty. We just don’t see them much in the mainstream news media. However, a while back I came across an article highlighting the kindness people often show one another, even strangers.
This blog post is longer than usual. But I think you’ll enjoy the stories I’ve excerpted from the article. They will warm your heart and restore your faith in basic human kindness. Here are the stories:
- Today was my first day back on the job after more than a year on disability leave due to a freak explosion in the plant that, among other injuries, left me legally deaf in both ears. When I walked into the plant this morning several of my colleagues signed me phrases like “Great to see you,” “Welcome back,” and “We missed you.” It turns out that nine of my colleagues got together and took a sign language course, just like I did, over the last several months. They did this so they could easily communicate with me when I returned. Their compassion makes me think.
- I am an Iraq and Afghanistan veteran. Upon arriving home three years ago from my final tour to Afghanistan I found out that my wife had been cheating on me and had spent/stole almost all of our money. I had nowhere to stay and no phone and was suffering from severe anxiety problems. One of my close friends from high school, Shawn, and his wife, seeing that I was in need of help, took me in and let me live with their family of five. They helped me deal with my divorce and get my life together. Since then, I’ve moved into my own place, opened a fairly successful diner, and my friend’s kids call my Uncle Jay when they see me. The way they adopted me into their family in my desperate time of need will always makes me think.
- We live in a lower-middle-class neighborhood. My wife was just diagnosed with breast cancer, so my 14-year-old son decided that he wanted to raise money to help pay for some of her miscellaneous medical expenses. His idea was to go door to door around the neighborhood with battery operated hair clippers and let people shave a part of his head for a small donation of their choosing. He asked me whether a $100 goal would be too much. I told him not to get his hopes up. He came back home ten minutes ago with a totally bald head and $1,223. Two people gave him $100 bills.
- Today, when I landed at J.F.K. for a business trip, I turned on my phone and was inundated with several voicemails and text messages from family and close friends back in Seattle. “Call home. Your mom had a severe stroke and is currently in intensive care,” read the first text message to pop-up on my phone. My boss was with me, told me she’d handle things herself, and insisted that I catch the next flight back home. As I stood in line at the ticket counter, talking to my brother about my mother’s condition, crying, and explaining that I was going to try to make a flight that leaves in 30 minutes, the 12 people in line in front of me overheard my conversation and let me skip to the front. Then after the Delta rep quickly issued me a ticket, she walked around the counter, handled me a box of tissues, and before I had a chance to react, gave me a big hug. I made my flight. And my mom is now in stable condition.
- Today, the man that saved my life 28 years ago when he singlehandedly fought off three other men who were trying to rape me, walks with a cane due to the leg injury he suffered by doing so. And he looked so proud today when he put down his cane and slowly walked our daughter down the aisle.
- Today, my cat got out of my downtown condo and got lost. I was sad because I figured I’d never see her again. About 24 hours after I posted flyers on telephone poles in the city I received a call from a man who found my cat. It turned out the man was homeless and used 50 cents to call me from a payphone. He was insanely nice and even bought a can of food for my cat. I gave the man all the cash I had on me as a reward.
- Today, almost 5 years after I stopped volunteering at the suicide prevention hotline, the new manager gave me a call. She said this afternoon they received a $25,000 anonymous donation to help fund the support line. Along with the donation they received an email that read, “Thank you Claire. You saved my life.” Apparently, I’m the only Claire who ever volunteered there.
- Today, a homeless man whom I recognize from around the neighborhood came into my bakery and purchased a large birthday cake (I gave him a 40% discount). I curiously watched as he walked the cake across the street to another homeless man. The other man started laughing and then the two men hugged.
- Today, I witnessed a bad car accident at an intersection. An older drunk male with no headlights ran a light and hit a teenager’s car. The drunk driver’s car caught fire. Then the teenager, covered in blood, struggled out of his car, jogged to the burning vehicle and pulled the drunk driver to safety just before the cab of the vehicle burst into flames.
- Today, after several kids teased a less fortunate girl (who lives in a poorer neighborhood) this morning for always wearing the same clothes, seven students in my class went home at lunch time, emptied their drawers and closets and brought this girl 16 pristine and beautiful outfits to wear. I found out about this after I asked her why she changed her clothes after lunch today.
- Today, I was sitting on the steps of a church waiting for a bus when I saw an old Catholic nun being assisted up the steps by a young man wearing a Muslim turban. Once they were at the top, the nun turned to the young man and said, “I can see both of our gods raise beautiful children. Thank you.” The young man smiled and nodded.
- Today at 5AM, I asked an elderly man in the city where the nearest train stop was. He walked me to it and then waited next to me for 15 minutes. When the train finally arrived, he smiled and said, “Be safe out there, miss.” and then walked away without boarding the train.
- Today, I was in a taxi on my way to work in Chicago when my blood glucose level suddenly dropped and I passed out. The taxi driver used all the tricks of his trade to get me to the hospital as quickly as possible. Apparently, he cut through a small park and drove over a median to get me there before it was too late. I know this because after I woke up, my nurse told me that my taxi driver “saved my life” and “physically carried me into the emergency room waiting area,” followed by a police officer who was after him for the said traffic violations. But then, my nurse said, “After the taxi driver explained himself, the police officer shook his hand and left.”
All the stories above are excerpted, with permission, from the article, 99 Tiny Stories to Make You Think, Smile and Cry in the blog, Marc and Angel Hack Life: Practical Tips for Productive Living.
Copyright © 2012 by John Cali, revised 2018
Please share your thoughts with us in the comments below.
Here’s a heartwarming video about the power of kindness. As the old saying goes, “What goes around comes around.” Or, as many spiritual and religious traditions teach, whatever you give is always returned to you.
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