The world could use a little more kindness. It’s so easy to get caught up in your own routine and everyday personal worries that sometimes we just don’t remember to tune into those around us, especially at this time of year.
These stories of kindness will definitely encourage you to pass the compassion along. A little can go a long way.
The man at the market
When the supermarket clerk tallied up my groceries, it was $12 over what I had on me. I began to remove items from the bags when another shopper handed me a $20 bill. “Please don’t put yourself out,” I told him. “Let me tell you a story,” he said. “My mother is in the hospital with cancer. I visit her every day and bring her flowers. I went this morning, and she got mad at me for spending my money on more flowers. She demanded that I do something else with that money. So, here, please accept this. It is my mother’s flowers.”
Color me amazed
I forgot about the rule preventing liquids in carry-on luggage, so when I hit security at the airport, I had to give up all my painting supplies. When I returned a week later, an attendant was at the baggage area with my paints. Not only had he kept them for me, but he’d looked up my return date and time in order to meet me.
A little lift
One evening, I left a restaurant just ahead of a woman assisting her elderly mom. I approached the curb and paused to see if my arthritic knees could climb it. To my right appeared an arm to assist. It was that of the elderly mom. My heart was so touched.
A woman at our yard sale wore a perfume that smelled heavenly and familiar. “What are you wearing?” I asked. “White Shoulders,” she said. Suddenly I was bowled over by a flood of memories. White Shoulders was the one gift I could count on at Christmas from my late mother. We chatted a while, and she bought some things and left. A few hours later, she returned holding a new bottle of White Shoulders. I don’t recall which one of us started crying first.
Driving home in a blizzard, I noticed a vehicle trailing close behind me. Suddenly, my tire blew! I pulled off the road, and so did the other car. A man jumped out from behind the wheel and without hesitation changed the flat. “I was going to get off two miles back,” he said. “But I didn’t think that tire looked good.”
How did she know
I was driving cross-country to start a new job. What began as a fun adventure turned into a nightmare when I realized I had run through most of my money and still had a way to go. I pulled over and let the tears flow. That’s when I noticed the unopened farewell card my neighbor had shoved in my hand as I left. I pulled the card out of the envelope, and $100 dropped out—just enough to get me through the remainder of my trip. Later, I asked my neighbor why she had enclosed the money. She said, “I had a feeling it would help.
The lost blanket
When I was seven, my family drove to the Grand Canyon. At one point, my favorite blanket flew out the window and was gone. I was devastated. Soon after, we stopped at a service station. Moping, I found a bench and was about to eat my sandwich when a biker gang pulled into the station. “Is that your blue Ford?” a huge, frightening man with a gray-and-black beard asked. Mom nodded reticently. The man pulled my blanket from his jacket pocket and handed it to her. He then returned to his motorcycle. I repaid him the only way I knew how: I ran up to him and gave him my sandwich.
I was four months pregnant with our first child when our baby’s heart stopped beating. I was devastated. As the days went on, I was nervous about returning to work. I’m a middle school teacher and I didn’t know how I could face kids. This past May, after four weeks of recovering, I walked into my empty classroom and turned on the lights. Glued to the wall were a hundred colored paper butterflies, each with a handwritten message on it from current and past students. All of them had encouraging messages: “Keep moving forward,” “Don’t give up on God,” and “Know that we love you.” It was exactly what I needed.
As I left a party, I got on the wrong freeway and was immediately lost. I pulled over to the shoulder and called my roadside-assistance provider. She tried to connect me to the California Highway Patrol, but that call never went through. Hearing the panic in my voice, she came up with a plan B: “You’re near this office,” she said. “I’m about to go off shift. Stay put, and I’ll find you.” Ten minutes later, she rolled up. She guided me not only to the right freeway, but all the way to the correct freeway exit. And then, with a wave goodbye, she drove back into the night.
Scientific benefits of being kind
Not only does a random act of kindness help someone in their day-to-day, but there are actually scientifically-proven benefits of being kind.
Witnessing acts of kindness produces oxytocin in the body, occasionally referred to as the “love hormone,” which aids in lowering blood pressure and improving overall heart health.
Being kind is also contagious. Acts of kindness make others significantly more likely to pay it forward, causing it “to spread like a virus.”
Kindness increases one’s energy levels, as well as the phenomenon called the “helper’s high,” in which the brain’s pleasure and reward centers light up in the person doing the good deed.