Monday, March 1, 2010

The Kindness of Semi-Strangers

It didn’t occur to me until I pulled Ladybird onto the bus station lot: It’s March 1. A whole new month. Official start of spring just a few weeks away. Less than two weeks until daylight saving time. All good.

All except I forgot to get a March bus pass over the weekend. I hurriedly pulled out my change and pulled out $2. I added a quarter as I couldn’t remember if it was still $2 or gone up to $2.25. As I got out of the car one of my fellow bus-riders, Christine, emerged from her car. I asked her. She confirmed that it was $2.

Because I ride all the time and because I usually have a pass, she looked at me quizzically. “I forgot to pick one up,” I explained. “I will have to get one tonight.”

As I spoke, she began rifling through her bag. “Here,” she said suddenly, presenting me with a one-use pass. “I bought a bunch of these back when I had to go out to Barnes-Jewish.”

Thanks, I said and started to hand her my change. Better she get it than the bus.

“Oh no,” she responded, waving my hand away. “Just take it. I won’t use it.”

I don’t know her last name or where she works. I know what kind of car she drives and where she prefers to park it on the lot and when she rides the bus and where she rides it to. Beyond that, I don’t really know this lady.

It’s amazing how far little things like that can go toward restoring your faith in humanity. It’s not a big thing like solving world hunger or saving a life, but it matters just the same. So, thanks Christine. What a great way to start out the week!

I can’t help but think if everyone managed to do something like it every day, the world would be a tremendously better place. This got me thinking. It's not an original idea, but since it IS a new month, wouldn't it be great if I could do something to push random acts of kindness along? So I'm doing it -- and hoping you'll help.

I'm challenging each and every one of you reading this to CONSCIOUSLY do something, ANYTHING to help someone out EVERY DAY this month. It doesn't have to be big. It just requires you do something selfless, expecting nothing in return.

This won't be deviating from the norm for some of you, but if that's the case, do something you might not WANT to do, that might be extra inconvenient. And do it even if you already know the other person isn't even going to say "thanks."

Want to take the challenge? Leave me a comment below. At the end of the month, see if you don't feel better for having done it!


Chris Simon said...

I think it's a great idea. It's amazing how much brighter the world looks when someone has been extra nice to you. Count me in!

Karen Anne said...

Great idea. These things have such an impact on how people feel. (Just like someone being nasty is a downer.)

Why S? said...

This is a great idea. And once you make the commitment, opportunities will make themselves abundant.

MonkeyGirl said...

I'm game! I better go find someone to be nice to before the day ends!!

plumbelieve said...

This is only my small "pay it forward gesture" but I have been trying one quarter at a time to make a difference. I shop at Aldi's for many basic items and make it there every couple of weeks. You are required to "rent" a shopping cart. I have made it my habit to give my cart to a new shopper when I leave instead of returning it to the corral to collect my two bits. Many are shocked at first and try to hand me money. I simply tell them Merry Christmas or Pay it Forward.

One day, I did not have a quarter and only my debit card. I was about to return home for one when a stranger gave me his cart to use.

I guess somewhere along the way, my effort has paid off.

This is only a very small example of how polite gestures can set off waves of good will.

I wish you luck with your pursuit NV.

Anonymous said...

I love it and am playing along. (you know how I feel about stuff like this!;-) ) I think you're great...

Jayne said...

In Blue Springs, Mo. (near where I work) is a coffee shop where, one day last summer (I believe in July), a person in the drive-thru paid for her own coffee and that of the person behind her. The next person in line paid for the person behind him or her, and so on and so on...and it's STILL continuing today!! :)

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