This year, I have joined a Facebook group page called Pay It Forward 2017. A friend of mine created it to change the negativity on social media and to challenge everyone to perform at least one random act of kindness each month. The page truly has blossomed, and it is wonderful to see everyone’s posts. People often post ideas on how to help others. Some people post about how they have already helped others. It could be a simple gesture as paying for a coffee for the person behind you in line. It could also be volunteering at a local homeless shelter. It doesn’t matter how big or small the act of kindness is, as long as you are being selfless for someone else.
I do often think about random acts of kindness. I want to spread happiness and gratitude among others. For the past couple years, I have been much more conscientious of what I am doing is effecting others. So, If a car wants to pull into my lane, I wave them on. If a person is short on money at the register, I pick up the rest. After I’m done loading my groceries, I walk the cart back no matter how far the walk is. If someone stops me to ask for $2.00, I give them $5.00. I don’t want to just perform one random act of kindness, I rather live it.
One thing, I realized is that my son doesn’t normally get to see me in the act of human kindness. He is usually at school or at daycare while I’m out and about for my shopping experiences. I wish my son got to see more of that from me, he needs to see that. I learned it from watching my parents while they performed their own random act of kindness. I was approximately six years old, when I remember my parents withdrawing money out of the bank. We got back in the car and started to drive back from where we had came from. Just a couple blocks down, my dad pulled off into a parking lot, where we saw a man sitting on a curb. My father walked up to him and gave him $100. The man declined my father’s offer a couple of times, but eventually he took it while crying on my father’s shoulder. My parents knew this man, they said he was a good guy who just unfortunately lost his home due to a terrible divorce. That moment stuck with me as I can only hope that my examples stick with my son.
Saturday, I took my son to a local kids expo where they had bounce houses, food and vendors for multiple events and parks. It was a fun experience for us since it was too cold to be outside and we got to explore different things. After braving the cold, we returned to our car. As soon as I sat in the car, something caught my eye. The car in front of me had two stethoscopes hanging over their rear view mirror. I sat there zoned out, just staring at it.
Is it a nurse? or is it a doctor? They must be here with their children, are they on call? Did they just get off of night shift? Are they tired? Did she realize that her stethoscopes are hanging in her car? These were my constant thoughts. I contemplated for a few minutes before I went onto action. “What are we doing? Why are we still sitting here?”, my son said with a whisper. With no response, I quickly scrambled to find something to write on or write with. I decided to use a napkin and I wrote “Thank you for what you do” on it. I attached it with an “act of kindness” card and a $20 bill. I quickly busted out the door, while my son kept asking, “What are you doing?!”. “Just wait here, you’ll see”, I replied as I shut the door behind me. I dashed over to the car in hopes of avoiding looking stupid or sneaky. I quickly snuck it under her windshield wiper and then ran back into the car. My son began asking questions about what I just did. “Do you know what that is hanging over that mirror?”, I asked my son. “a stethoscope”, he answered.
Yes, it is a stethoscope. Doctors and nurses use stethoscopes. Those are the people that save us everyday. That person probably stuck that up there because she probably forgets that she has it on. She is probably in that expo with her children, but she could possibly be on call. Which means that if something happens and the hospital needs her, she will have to leave in an instant. I don’t know her story, but either way, she should be thanked for what she does everyday”.
My son put his head down for a moment, and then looked up at me with a smile. “That was really nice of you”, he said. I smiled back. Then, we waited for about 35 minutes. I wanted to leave and just trust in God that she would receive it. However, I just had a feeling that she would pop up soon. I was afraid that someone would see the money and take it. I was afraid that the wind would blow it away. Most importantly, I wanted my son to see the reaction on this woman’s face.
Finally, a young woman with her daughter runs over to the car. “Here it goes”, my son says in excitement. “Don’t stare too much”, I said with a giggle. The woman starts to back of her parking space. “Oh no! She doesn’t see it”, my son says with fear. “Just wait, she’ll see it”, I tried to reassure him. Just then, the woman stops her car in the middle of the parking lot. She quickly opens her door to bear the wind and snatches the note. Her initial expression was agitated as she probably thought it was a Jehovah witness pamphlet. Once, she dropped back into her seat, we could see through the tinted window silhouette that she was excited. She grabbed her face a couple of times as she repeatedly looked over everything in her hands. I looked over at my son who couldn’t stop watching and smiling. I was satisfied with our experience and I didn’t want them to suspect that it was us, so I began backing out of my parking spot to leave. “Wait..if we’re leaving, how are they supposed to know it was from us?”, my son asked. I smiled, “Sometimes they don’t have to know, sometimes they just need to accept it as a blessing from God”.
As I pulled away, I watched this woman get out of her car as she ran over to a friend’s car to show what she had discovered. I left that parking lot with love in my heart knowing that I made someone’s day. I also left with pride knowing that my son learned something from this experience as well. He has now learned about humanity and kindness. I want to continue to bestow these types of examples onto my son, so that he can carry these into his own life. I want to teach my son selflessness, love and compassion. Hopefully, he will perform random acts of kindness in the future as another stepping stone toward becoming the well-rounded respectful man he needs to become in life.
Actions speak louder than words”