One day I had to make a run to Trader Joes for dinner. My daughter, who was six at the time, asked me if she could bring some cards she had made and pass them out. I said sure, why not, and went on with my task at hand. When we finally made it to TJ’s, my daughter had dressed herself in one of her favorite dresses complete with plastic Disney heels and a feathery headband and had her cards in hand. As we went throughout the store she would ask me if she could give her card away to one person after another until we got ready to checkout. A tall young man who probably just passed 21 was at the register. After my kiddo asked me if she could give the card to him, she shyly approached him and handed him her card. He was surprised and asked what it was. She said, “I made this card for you sir, it’s a happiness card. I hope it makes you smile.”
He took the card and looked at it for a long moment and said quietly, “Thank you so much.” I paid for my groceries and we left the store. The young man came rushing out after us and gave my daughter a row of stickers. He told us that what she had done meant so much to him. He was having one of the “roughest days of my life” and that card was like the universe saying it would be ok. From then on, whenever he saw us in the store he gave us the brightest smile.
I still remember that young man 8 years later and I hope that the ripple of kindness he felt from my child still tugs at him sometimes.
Today we live in a world whose default button seems to be the very opposite of kindness. The news, social media and political arena at times hypes up the negativity that the world spews.
Don’t add to it. Let your default button be compassion. Do something nice for someone on the daily, no matter how big or small the gesture. Just like that young man, you can never know how taking a moment to be kind to someone can impact their lives that day and bring a smile to face. Even more, it can fundamentally change their idea about humanity itself and help restore trust in each other.
Let’s infuse our communities with good vibes and soon a fine layer of happy dust will lay over everything changing the emotional and psychological climate everywhere. Seeing a smile on the face of another human is beautiful thing to behold. The world we have built can be harsh but we don’t have to be harsh to live in it.
Start by saying hello to someone standing next to you. They may look at you crazy but that’s ok. Do it with a geniune smile. Once a month pay it backward – pay the coffee, toll, donut etc for the person behind you. Let someone into your lane instead of rushing forward. Give someone a book you think they would like. Babysit for a friend so they can have a date night. Cut someone some slack – that is when they need kindness the most. Instead of writing a scathing comeback on Facebook or Twitter, don’t. You probably won’t change their minds anyway. Instead, write a thank you letter, give a compliment to a stranger or put that energy to good use!
“Small acts, when multiplied by millions of people, can transform the world.”