Each year, I make a point of doing at least one random act of kindness. Throughout the year opportunities just appear. Whether it’s paying for groceries for the person in line ahead of me at the grocery whose out-of-state check won’t be accepted or a buying gifts cards, grocery staples, bath items, and lottery tickets for someone who has been going through a tough time, there are always opportunities that pop up.
Sometimes, my gift is anonymous and sometimes, due to the situation (being in line at the grocery store) it’s not anonymous. Every time, the reaction is different. While I don’t do it for a certain response, it is interesting the different reactions that happen. Some seem in shock and say nothing. Some look at me strangely and say, “Thank you.”
This past weekend, an opportunity popped up. We were out to dinner and our waitress was particularly good. She was pleasant and just the right amount of attentive. I had lost my voice due to a cold and she brought me some Italian wedding soup without charging us. One of the times she walked away, I noticed her pause at an empty table and stretch her feet.
Clearly I had no idea what was going on in her life and she didn’t share anything personal during our visit. Her beautiful face was a bit weathered from life. Though she didn’t complain and was very nice to us, she just seemed…tired. I’ve waitressed before and I know how exhausting it can be to be constantly on your feet for hours, running around serving people and not usually making great money.
When we finished eating, I asked my boyfriend to get the car and that I wanted to catch our waitress quickly before we left. I found her on the outdoor patio smoking a cigarette, checking her phone. When she saw me, she put out her cigarette and apologized, asking if I still needed something.
I asked her to sit with me and told her about my random act of kindness that I do each year. Her eyes fixed intently on mine as I spoke. I opened her hand and put $60.00 in her hand, but all she could see was the $20.00 so she didn’t really know what she was holding. She shook her head and said she couldn’t take it. I pressed it firmly into her hand and told her she could and that she matters in this world. In that moment, her gaze broke and waves of tears came crashing out of her eyes. She threw her arms around me and held me so tightly. I felt her body shake as she squeezed me and sobbed.
I let her hold me as long as she needed. When we released, she looked at me and simply said, “Thank you.” I told her I wanted her to get a massage and make sure they rub her feet. She smiled and let out a chuckle. She thanked me again while holding onto my hands. I gave her hands a squeeze and smiled at her as I left.
I still have no idea what is happening in her world, but I suspect she’s going through something difficult. I also have no idea what she’ll use the money for, but now she has it and hopefully it will help her in some way.
There are people in need all around us. You never know what a simple act of kindness can mean to someone. Open your eyes and you will see opportunities are everywhere.
An act of kindness doesn’t have to be monetary. You would be surprised how big a difference a smile, a hug, or a handful of wildflowers can make.
Our world needs more kindness. Be a light in someone’s darkness.
Will you join me? What random act of kindness have you done this year? I’d love to know. Share in the comments below.