… the woman in the department store, the one who had a screaming son strapped in a stroller, the one who was stooping down to catch all the potato chips her child threw around in a fit of anger instead of eating them – you didn’t frown or look the other way, but gave her a quick glance as if to say, “It’s okay, everything will be fine.” Others in the store shook their heads in disgust, causing the mother’s lips to tremble a bit. But you knew better – the child could have been suffering an ear infection and couldn’t understand my the pain in his head wouldn’t go away. Or maybe he lost his favorite blanket that morning and nothing in the world could soothe him at that moment. And perhaps it didn’t have anything to do with the boy at all, but his mother instead. She could have lost her job the day before and was too anxious, too upset, too worried to think calmly.
Short movie about perceptions: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=epuTZigxUY8
… the man whose wallet you found and returned with all the contents intact. He was thankful, not only because the cash was still there, but because the wallet was a gift given to him by his son before leaving for military service. Or maybe it belonged to his father who gave it to him on his wedding day, filled with hundred dollar bills to start a new life with his life’s love. And to think of it, he could have wanted the cash after all – to buy a dozen tulips for his wife, not because it was their anniversary or her 50th birthday, but just because.
Read about other good deeds: www.thegooddeedsorganisation.com
… to the person who is the center of a spiteful gossip, because instead spreading lies, you pressed your lips tightly together and ignored the mean spirit underlying the words. Yes, your friend is grateful to you for not feeding more untruths in the tangled mess created by other “friends.” Or maybe it’s a rumor overheard in the school cafeteria line, about a teacher drinking when she shouldn’t. It could also be about a family member’s stay at the hospital, a private issue that others around you won’t leave alone, insisting instead to guess the ailments and disorders that may have required the four or five days of medical attention.
Free yourself from gossip: learnthis.ca/2009/12/how-to-free-yourself-from-gossip
… the teenager you helped instead of laughing at his clumsiness, the one who dropped all of his books in the bus in front of you. He may have a secret you know nothing about – a father who drinks all night and passes away on the sofa, snoring, belching and cursing in his sleep. Or perhaps he has a younger sister waiting for him at home, who can’t understand why she is so ill and can’t get better, no matter how many doctors she sees or medicines she takes. And you never know, he could be carrying his own shame, of failing the English test because the letters on the paper appeared backwards, upside down, scattered like a foreign language or a code he couldn’t decipher.
Learn more about issues teens face: kidshealth.org/teen
… the cashier you smiled at, the one who was being yelled at by a customer at the convenience store because she gave him incorrect change for the six-pack of beer he had just purchased. She didn’t smile back at you, she was busy shielding herself from the man’s curses. But you could tell from the look in her eyes that she needed your encouragement. She was someone’s mother perhaps, who had stayed up all night caring for her sick baby, or a woman whose husband had just left her for another, or maybe she was trying not to worry about her son at home, the one who was suspended from school for bringing a pocketknife to class as a prank.
See what kindness can do: www.randomactsofkindness.org
… the woman you held the elevator for. She could have been running to an after school conference with her child’s teacher, or rushing to help a friend stranded on the side of the street with a flat tire, or anxious to get to the doctor’s for the first glimpse of her unborn child’s nose and feet and tiny, tiny fingers via an ultrasound, her husband beside her holding her hand tightly, just as excited and nervous.
See other acts of kindness: thekindnessoffensive.com
… the person you gave a few dollar bills to. Maybe it’s a boy standing outside the grocery store, collecting money for his school soccer team’s trip to the state championship game, or a group of friends gathering funds to support the research of a cancer one of their classmates has, or a man who has no home, who can now warm his spirit with a cup of coffee.
To give: www.justgive.org