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My Experience With a Random Act of Kindness

random act of kindness, faith in humanity, doing kindness

Random acts of kindness.  You hear about them from time to time, a bill for a meal is mysteriously paid for, or someone pays for the toll for the next 10 cars in line.  They’re usually done anonymously, and are small token gestures meant to brighten the day of a stranger just a little bit.  I had an opportunity to perform a random act of kindness recently, but I would have never expected the outcome.

I had just finished gathering everything on my grocery shopping list and was headed for the self checkout lane.  All of them were in use, so I was waiting patiently in line for my turn.  Out of the corner of my eye, I saw a mother with two daughters walk up beside me.  She looked at my very full cart of groceries and realized she wasn’t getting through quickly.  She grabbed her youngest daughter’s hand and proceeded to walk quickly down the checkout rows looking for one with a short line.

She seemed frustrated and very much in a hurry.

Just then, one of the self checkout lanes opened up, and it was my turn.  I called after her, “Maam, you can go ahead of me if you want.  This is going to take me awhile.”

Walking briskly back to me, I could see that tears were welling up in her eyes.  “”Thank you so much. Thank you. I just got a call that my other daughter is in the ER and I gotta go. Thank you so, so much.”

She scanned and bagged a few items and hurriedly walked out of the store, her two daughters on her heels.

I don’t know the details or severity of the situation.  I do know as a parent that when you hear your child is hurt that the world pretty much stops. Letting  her go before me added no more than 60 seconds to my wait time, but it saved her precious  minutes in completing her task at the grocery store and allowed her to get to the hospital just a little faster.

I don’t remember what the woman looked like.  I couldn’t pick her out of lineup if my life depended on it.  But I’ll never forget the tone of her voice.  I’ve never heard words filled with more gratitude and thankfulness.

I didn’t do it to make me feel good, I did it because I saw a fellow person that looked like they needed some help, and I was in a position to lend a hand.  We’re all just trying to make it through our day the best we can.  What greater gift can you give to another person than to help make that path just a little easier?

Have you ever performed a random act of kindness?  Have you ever had one done to you?

Brought to you courtesy of Brock

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  • I’ve let people go ahead of me at the grocery store, also. But my favorite was when we bought breakfast for a little old lady who went to the same greasy spoon we do. I just paid for hers when I paid for mine. Another thing I have done is when I got an exceptionally tasty grilled chicken sandwich at Steak and Shake, when paying at the front counter, I told the clerk to please thank the grill cook for such a well done sandwich. She turned around right then and called to the cook what I had said. Just giving someone the praise they deserved.

  • This is a great post. What I love most is that your act cost nothing. Okay, a few minutes of your time, but it didn’t cost you cash. So many times it’s being observant and doing something kind that can make all the difference…

    Actually noticing someone, smiling at them or, as you did, let someone go first. I’ve been on this planet for a while and been on both ends of the random acts of kindness deal. Both are very rewarding.

    When we pull our heads out of our own “stuff” and just look around, helping someone else can make you feel so much better!

    Thanks for the reminder!

  • @MoneyBeagle – I do as well, but the opportunity doesn’t come up all that often. Usually they just smile and say thank you – this reaction was definitely one that I will remember. Thanks for your comment!

  • @Kathy – Great story about thanking the cook. I agree that sometimes just a “thank you” or a pat on the back for a job well done goes a LONG way. Thanks for sharing!

  • @Ree Klein – Life is so busy that we all just walk around in our own little bubbles and forget that the people bustling around us have lives and feelings of our own. it just makes the place we live in a little more cheery and more enjoyable to acknowledge each other in a positive way, don’t you think? Glad you liked the post!

  • This is a good reminder that random acts of kindness are great for both sides. My cousin was at the grocery store a few weeks ago, and she got through the checkout and realized she forgot her wallet at home. A woman behind her paid for her groceries. It was so kind and I’m sure quite expensive!

  • @Daisy – Wow, that’s an awesome story. I witnessed the person next to me in the self-checkout line once that paid partially in cash and then tried to finish it off with a card. It was obvious that the total was more than she had anticipated, and the card didn’t work. I was about to jump in and offer to pay the remainder, but then her third card went through. I can only imagine what was going through her head. Thanks for sharing, Daisy!

  • I love reading these kinds of stories. Recently I read about this wealthy man who disguised as a homeless man. The other man gave him money for food and this wealthy man suddenly told him what kind of thing he could do to help this other man. Long story short, this wealthy man gave the other man a month’s worth of rent money in cash.

  • Love it. This is something that I should really do more. I am not a total bitch but I rarely go out of my way…for anyone, let alone to help someone. Maybe tomorrow I’ll hold a door open for someone.

  • @PoorStudent – I like those kinds of stories too….I’m a sucker for watching them on TV – kind of restores your faith in mankind, doesn’t it? Thanks for stopping by!

  • @Tahnya – it’s easy to put on blinders as we go through our daily lives – but it is nice to take a look around every now and then and notice the people we share the planet with. 🙂

  • That was kind of you.

    I’ve let people get in front of me at the store too. It’s a simple thing that means a lot to people.

    I’ve also paid for a woman’s entire grocery order (she was supposed to have EBT but there was obviously a glitch in the system). She was at the store with her young child and it was around the holidays. So I just swiped my card and paid for them. It was only about $40, but the way she hugged me, it meant a lot to her.

    I’ve paid for the person’s order behind me when I stop at DD for morning coffee.

    I’ve handed out $5 DD gift cards to the homeless so they can get a sandwich.

    I’ve handed cash to nuns when they are shopping at WalMart (and their order was already paid for, so I couldn’t do that – so I handed them $30 and said, “please use this as you see fit”).

    I donate a box of school supplies to our local district every year to help out students who can’t afford them, or to help teachers who spend their own money buying supplies for the classrooms – I also donate extra decorations to the school (our colors are black & orange so when Halloween colored stuff goes on sale, I stock up) for graduations, dances, etc.

    A woman at work who I am acquainted with was telling me her boyfriend had surgery and she was stressed with caring for him and her child and working – so when I stopped at the store, I bought her a small gift basket ($20) from Ulta to brighten her day.

    Those are the most recent ones I can think of. I’m sure there’s more, but I don’t actually do it to keep track, so I kind of do them and then forget about it.

    And no, no one has ever done a random act of kindness to me. God has blessed me with good health, a loving family and a the ability to financially care for my family and save some for retirement, so I’m incredibly blessed already. : )

  • @susan – I love your attitude, Susan. You are thankful for all you have been given, and give some back when you can. I have a feeling I’ll be reminded of your post the next time I have the opportunity to lend a hand. Thanks for sharing!

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