Stuff to Think About

Random Acts of Kindness



Random Acts of Kindness

I experienced a random act of kindness moment in an airport the other day. It was a particularly busy day in the small city I flew into, and the car rental counter had become temporarily backed up with more people than there were cars ready. People were waiting patiently. Conversations were struck up between strangers.

I was next in line. Cars were becoming available again. The young man ahead of me was in the middle of his transaction when a worker came up and called out the name of a person whose car was ready. Up came an elderly man to claim his car and be on his way.

As is often the case, in this airport one must travel a short way to find the rental car parking lot. As the employee explained all of the details to the elderly man, he was clearly overwhelmed with the instructions. The employee looked on helplessly, and the man who was completing his paperwork said “I’ll be going to the same place. I’ll be happy to walk with you if you can wait just a moment.” Then he turned to his family and asked them to meet him in the rental car area. I watched the two men walk out together.

As I approached my rental car, I saw the young man’s family waiting patiently at the curb. And then I saw the young man help the older gentleman get his luggage into the car, and point him to the exit.

While it was a bright and sunny day, it was watching this interaction that made me feel warm inside. I carried that feeling over miles and miles of state highway, often finding myself smiling at the goodness of people. I wonder how many people were impacted by that young man’s act of kindness? I know it had a ripple effect–I was especially attentive to the needs of others for the rest of that day.


Travel Attitudes

Have you ever noticed how airports seem to bring out either the best or the worst in people? Or maybe, due to the various stresses involved in travel these days, we just drop our filters a bit more by the time we’ve gotten through security and found a seat to wait until boarding time.

I like to think that even when I’m exhausted, hungry, and over-crowded, I’m still decent to my fellow travelers. That’s my goal, at least. I realize other people may not experience me that way at all.

I’ve also realized that I tend to pay attention to how nice strangers often are to one another. Random acts of kindness, as they say. I continue to be impressed by humankind as a whole. Other people I know often tune in to the unfortunate interactions between people. The Inconsiderateness, rudeness, and anger.

Which kind of traveler are you? Do you take your stress out on others, or do you try to focus on being kind? How do you live in the world in general? Do you notice the goodness around you, or do you focus on all the things you dislike? The things we pay attention to affect our emotional landscape–they become the lenses through which we see the world.

Me, I’m opting for rose colored glasses, without naiveté.  A glass half full. My life feels peaceful this way.



From “Awareness” by Anthony de Mello

“When you fight something, you are tied to it forever. As long as you’re fighting it, you are giving it power.”

What are you fighting? What do you give your power to?

The energy is different when we focus on what we want, instead of what we don’t yet have. What would happen if we said something like “I spend my money thoughtfully” instead of “I shouldn’t buy this because I’m so in debt.” Feel the difference?

Or: “I am finding constructive ways to talk with my husband” instead of “I’m so tired of fighting all the time!” When the focus is on the positive, the thing we want, rather than what we do not want, things feel very different.

What do you wish was different in your life? Focus on how you will make the changes, paying attention to the goal rather than the problem. It makes a big difference!