A little can go a long way in times of need….
After leaving an Atlanta-area church one bright sunny Sunday morning, I felt led to go to a local department store in an urban neighborhood to pick up a few items. I knew to prevent last minute trips while rushing my kids to school, I would eventually need those items such as more soap, toilet paper, garbage bags, etc for the remainder of the week.
Of course, my list, the prices of the items and what eventually ended up in my shopping cart were two different things; there was a $50 difference and the bags seemed heavier. However, once my daughter (and favorite shopping companion) and I finished shopping and got back in the car, we began to drive off like we would any other time.
I just started my vehicle and expected it to “go.”
It was only a matter of seconds before a “clunk, kurplunk” noise could be heard. I told my eldest daughter to go ahead and check all the tires. To our dismay, one of the tires was flat. Surprisingly, I was not worried or frazzled, but calm and ready to handle the situation no matter what. Maybe, it was the sermon that the preacher preached that I actually listened to. Something was carrying me spiritually and emotionally and keeping me from becoming nervous or frazzled.
It seemed as if a higher power was on our side because as we walked through the parking lot, trying to decide what to do, there was an immediate answer to our problem. The solution: a young man who was waiting on his wife or girlfriend possibly to come out of the store. He was standing ready and waiting it seemed to help us. It was then that I knew I was in another time zone. Good things were about to happen, a miracle of kindness was unraveling.
My daughter and I began to nod our heads in silent women’s speak as he drove to our van to repair the tire. It seemed like magic, but help was on the way. A department store employee saw we were in distress and pitched in to help as well. The store employee gave our new Good Samaritan and friend a few words of encouragement and advice and showed him how to use our jack and went back to work. It was amazing because our Good Samaritan’s passengers who included a baby were so quiet, patient and compassionate while waiting on him to fix our tire.
That young man took out from his time and even got a little dirty to help us in our time of need. He never once complained or gave us unwanted commentary. He was so kind that when I offered him a small token, a payment for his services, he shook his head “no.” Being the gentleman, that he was, he turned it down. (We gave it to his wife or girlfriend instead for the baby). Despite the chaos and turmoil around the world this very second, there are still individuals out there that believe in “Southern hospitality” and “random acts of kindness.”
I’ll take those clichés any time. Fill my cup and that of others until it overflows with “kindness.”
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Population Division in July 2009, there were 307,006,550people living in the United States. If just a small percentage of people joined the Random Acts of Kindness Foundation, the world would be a much better place to live and work. A statement from the foundation’s website says, “When kindness is expressed, healthy relationships are created, community connections are nourished, and people are inspired to pass kindness on.”
Allan Luks, the author of The Healing Power of Doing Good: The Health and Spiritual Benefits of Helping Others, states this about kindness on the foundation’s website:
- Once we establish an “affiliative connection” with someone – a relationship of friendship, love, or some sort of positive bonding – we feel emotions that can strengthen the immune system.
- Adopting an altruistic lifestyle is a critical component of mental health.
- The practice of caring for strangers translates to immense immune and healing benefits.
- Regular club attendance, volunteering, entertaining, or faith group attendance is the happiness equivalent of getting a college degree or more than doubling your income.
Please don’t forget to volunteer and to give gifts from the heart during this upcoming holiday season. Where can you go to give? Give to your local favorite charity, a neighbor, friend or stranger. Non-profits such as the American Diabetes Association, the American Red Cross, Habitat for Humanity, My Sister’s Keeper, National Urban League, the Salvation Army, and the Women’s Funding Network to name a few, would be happy to receive your random acts of kindness and financial donations during this upcoming holiday period.
Kindness can go a long way, even in the metropolis, even where others would dare to shop or go. I just want someone to give others and me that old-time kindness the old fashioned way, from their heart to mine despite living in a technological, fast-paced, post-modern society. There are some people who still desire to serve… Give them a chance to be themselves. They want to make a difference. Give me that old-time kindness because it is good enough for everyone.
Della Spearman is a grad school student and fellow at the Interdenominational Theological Center in Atlanta. An ordained minister and Master Gardener, she writes on various issues including political, education and some pop philosophy concerns.