Yesterday I stopped to pick up my mail. It was raining and cold. The parking lot was crowded. I spotted an older woman wrestling with two large boxes that she needed to ship. Struggling to get them out of the car, she put one on the ground. She glanced at it and hesitated, as if she was going to leave it there and come back to it, because she couldn’t carry both. I turned around and asked if she wanted some help. I could see the relief on her face as she handed me the box.
For me, this was easy — but what happened next surprised me.
I brought the package inside and put it on the counter, explaining that the woman with the other box would be in shortly, and the package was hers. There were two people working at the counter. We’ll call them Joe and Steve. Joe understood what I was doing, but Steve was totally confused. Were we together? Did I know this woman? Was I shipping this package and she was paying for it?
Steve just couldn’t wrap his brain around what was going on. He looked at the packages with a blank stare. Joe looked at him and said loudly, “SHE WAS JUST BEING NICE” (In a “c’mon, stupid, get with the program” tone of voice).
Steve finished ringing up the woman’s packages and as she left, she thanked me. And Steve said to the woman “yeah, she’ll send you the bill”.
That struck me as so odd — that he really, seriously, couldn’t accept that someone had done something nice for another person with no ulterior motive and expecting nothing in return. I picked up a box. It wasn’t anything revolutionary. But to him, it just didn’t make sense why anyone would do that. So he fluffed it off with a smart-ass comment and went on with his day.
This is the world we live in, with random acts of kindness being the exception instead of the norm.
These are the feel-good things that show up on your Facebook feed, or as the closing story on the evening news. But why? Why can’t everyone practice kindness every single day? It doesn’t have to be a big thing. Stopping to take the box from that woman took 5 seconds, at most.
These are simple gifts to humanity. Little things like…
– Carrying a package for someone who is struggling
– Paying the toll for the car behind you during your morning commute
– Buying a coffee for the person behind you in line at the coffee shop
– Holding the door for someone at the store
This is the season of giving — so why don’t we do more of this, every day?
Spread the joy far and wide.
Be kind. Show love.
What kind of world would we live in?
How can you embody that today?
How can your intentions be guided by love?
How can your actions and your thoughts be guided by kindness?
And don’t forget YOU.
How can you show yourself love and kindness today?
(after all, you can’t share something if you don’t have it yourself.)
Go do that.
Originally published at medium.com