“Carry out a random act of kindness with no expectation of reward safe in the knowledge that one day someone might do the same for you.” – Princess Diana
Treat others how you would like to be treated—that’s my motto in life. I was brought up this way and it has stayed with me until now. The thought of “what’s in it for me?” never really occurred to me if I decided to be “kind.” Often people would say to me “you are so thoughtful,” or “you are so kind.” I often would reflect on that saying—really—it’s just an act of “humanness from one person to the other.” Perhaps because in life I have seen people get hurt, I have heard stories of women being abused, I have grown up watching the injustices of the world that I knew was beyond my control.
I realized that I couldn’t do anything on a large scale to change society, but if I wanted to change society, it must start with me. It must start with me making a conscious effort to be mindful of people’s feelings, needs and wants; that if it’s in my power to do something to make them feel a little bit better, then I feel that I have worked towards some such change in society.
This is not about me being selfless and bragging about it. This is about the power of a kind word, thought or deed to transform another individual and how that can create a ripple effect. In other words, kindness spreads. We need more of this in today’s society.
I love the idea of “pay it forward” because it pushes us to go beyond our comfort zone. We take the time to think about random acts that could bring a smile to someone today. And today I also want to share how I have been touched by one person’s kindness.
I was unexpectedly provided with a grace of some sort by a random stranger who barely knew me that has touched me beyond words can say. Three months ago, I slipped on black ice and fell and broke my ankle. I was in between jobs and it was my week to run errands before I was to start my new job.
I ended up having ankle surgery because my bone was broken and have been recovering ever since. I was due to start work on March 16, 2015, and the incident occurred March 9, 2015. I was scheduled to have surgery on March 19, 2015, so there was no way that I could begin working.
Random act of kindness #1: My new job decided to wait until I was cleared by the doctor to return to work. Random act of kindness #2: I wasn’t cleared for driving yet, and I was due to return to work. Everyone I knew was working, and it looked like I would have to resort to taking a cab to work each day. I knew I didn’t have a choice in that matter because it was either I make a decision to not continue with this job or take a cab. Just then I decided to reach out to my soon to be supervisor to inquire if she knew anyone who carpools to this area. She sent out an email, and voila, I got a response. Divine Intervention. This job was meant to be, it was just a matter of Divine Timing.
It turns out that a coworker who lived twenty minutes away from my home was due to start working a week before I began, and he offered to pick and drop me off until it was OK for me to drive. Maybe to some of you this may not be that big of a deal, but to me it was.
This was someone who was readjusting his schedule to accommodate my needs and he didn’t expect anything in return. This was someone who was willing to wake up extra early so he could make it to my home so we could still make it to work at a decent time; and be able to leave at a decent time so that he could still get to spend time with his family. This was someone who didn’t mind folding my knee scooter, and putting it in the back of his trunk, and taking it out to drop me at the curbside of the building to make it accessible for me to scoot my way into the building. This was someone who performed an act of kindness not because he was getting something in return but simply because he wanted to help a coworker.
Whenever I thank him, he says “my pleasure” but I don’t know if he really understands how much this act has really meant to me—he made getting to work possible, he made it possible for me to continue a lifestyle that was normal, and last but not least he indirectly showed me that compassion and kindness still exists in this world.
Just when I was beginning to lack some faith, this random act of kindness again proved to me about the possibilities of a human being. I think more than anything as a mother who is trying to teach her son to always be kind in a world that’s so violent, this story proved to me once again that yes, love does rule the world. We just need to make an effort to be more mindful about practicing it more often. And last but not least, never underestimate the impact your kind deed will have on another human being. To you it may be nothing because it comes from within you, but rest assured you have touched someone’s soul and it will spread. That is how we can change the world, one person at a time.
Read more on this topic in METTA MEDITATION: Learn to practice loving-kindness to all beings»
by Anjali Mani