Random Acts of Kindness

As technology continues to grow, we become a society of instant gratification. Less and less are we aware that at the other end of the message is a real person. Why hasn’t he got back to me yet; I sent him a text twenty minutes ago. Doesn’t he know this is important?

I rush around trying to do more in less time and the pressure to deliver continues to build. I have a cute little electronic calendar that I keep to remind me where exactly I am supposed to be at every minute of every day. We, as a society, have come to expect one another to live our lives at the end of the cell phone or available by email or text message regardless of what we are already busy doing. We send texts from meetings and think we are multi-tasking. All the rushing around has just about stressed me out. The only constant: everyone is on the run and in a hurry.

Just when you KNOW you have all you can handle; when just a little bit more will absolutely make your head explode and the world will come to a crashing halt, some random person who barely knows you, one you have never even taken the time to notice exists, will do something unexpected and kind for you and make your whole day. These little random acts of kindness are unexpected and serve to bring the world back into focus. These small gifts of kindness serve to remind you that those are people out there and they sometimes act in unexpected ways.

The other day I was caught up in the moment and working hard to put out a fire that had flared up on one of my projects. I was in the midst of taking angry phone calls and working through my phone messages and emails, while simultaneously ignoring my cell phone. Every phone call took too long and nobody was offering solutions, only complaints.

I had taken action, had a team responding, and the solution was simply going to take a little bit more time. As I tried in vain to extricate myself from the deluge of messages, my story was becoming stale and less passionate. I was becoming more terse with each successive call. Time was flying by and suddenly eight was ten and then noon. I was down to about 23 messages to return when I glanced up and saw that it was almost one. I took the cordless phone to the bathroom with me; somehow I didn’t feel I could take even a two minute break. Would I really fall so far behind and lose the battle if I took a bathroom break?

In the middle of all the chaos, I looked up and there was one of my co-workers dropping off a plate of food at my desk. There were no words spoken and I am sure the look on my face said thank you. I grabbed a fork and shoveled food in as I could. I even managed to talk on the phone and continue to send emails and texts while I was eating. I will never know what made her run across the street and grab me some lunch but I will always be thankful.

This simple act of kindness on the part of a co-worker served to make my whole day. I was horribly stressed out and overly focused on the problem at hand, and I had lost sight of the big picture. One person taking just a few minutes to do something kind for another person can make all the difference in the world. Even I slowed down for just a few minutes and realized that every single person that I talked to was a real person and deserved to be treated as such. A really tough day had suddenly been transformed into a really great day.

A random act of kindness can never really be repaid; it simply must be passed along to the next person.



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