Act of kindness change lives
We were waiting for our friend to meet us at the café. It was about 9.00 am on a Saturday morning. Then when she arrived we went to order our food and my sister Bel bought her favourite fish burger and a breakfast set for me with my favourite coffee.
Then she said “There is a man sitting outside and he took some food left by a customer of the café at a table near him.” I turned to look and there was this man dressed in a green shirt looking slightly shabby and timid. He was looking around and the tables around him. He had a cup at the table, we were not sure if it was his. Bel said, “I think he must be hungry. Maybe we can treat him with this burger and we share the breakfast set. “ I replied, “Hmm… random act of kindness for today. Why not?” “I am ok if you are.” And so Bel went over as the man was standing facing outside with his back turned. Bel quickly left the burger at the table and came back to sit with me.
Then we peeked and watched him turned and suddenly he saw the box and opened it. He then took it and ate it. We were very happy .
Bel and I decided years ago that every day, if we could, we will practice at least one act of kindness each day; be it a smile (a real eye contact smile), a greeting, a treat, a helping hand, etc. Some times we did more than once and it was something we felt blessed doing.
A simple reason for me is because all these years struggling to find my purpose and my life, I have received many act of kindness by strangers before. Then in the later years, I noticed that I have been in situations where strangers would appear in front of me and talk with me as if he or she needed a shoulder to ‘cry on’. From then on, I realized what an impact we can give another human being who is in need. How, the universe or for me, God, would arrange the meeting for such events to happen. I believe it very strongly as it has happened over and over again with me. Every where I go I would meet strangers who would talk with me and asked about my ‘condition’ and they share their problems with me.
I am like everyone else who go through many ups and downs; still because of my awareness and how I felt after each act of giving that makes me happy, I began to use that as a way to heal my own pain and sadness . Giving is an act naturally as serving another human being brings tremendous joy and healing to both parties. Again, it can be any small act; even if it is a smile or just a ‘hello’.
I never knew how my smile and laughter too have changed someone’s day. I have been told my laughter was always loud and it was not appropriate for a girl. Of course, I felt as if I was created all wrong (besides my loud laughter) and I just kept all these comments and tried to change so that I would not be criticized. However, laughter is natural for me and I would just have a hearty laugh no matter how hard I stifle it. Until one day (in my adulthood), an elderly gentleman came up to me and said, “You know, I was feeling so tired and fed up just now until I heard you laughing. It rang in my ears and it gave me a sense of joy and suddenly, I feel so much better. You changed my entire day, thank you.” I was stunned and I did not know how to respond to him because I have not received many compliments in my life. I went back reflecting on how I was snubbed for laughing out loud but today someone actually said something good about my laughter. Is this an act of kindness? I believe so, for both the gentleman and me.
Bel would not hesitate to help anyone. She even helped a worker in the supermarket to pushed a long stretch of trolleys because he was struggling.
There are just so many incidents where I received kindness and practice kindness. The world does go around. For me, it is a blessing each day just to do one small but meaningful act; even saying thank you to a cleaner or wave good bye to the garbage man.
Florence Littauer in her book on Silver Boxes talks about how to make others feel special, mend broken dreams and giving affirmation messages of the gospel through encouragement. It is through that book Bel and I understood that we have been giving silver boxes to others and receiving silver boxes from others too.
We still continue today and will continue to do each day so that at least one person who needs a silver box will receive it. We do it with no expectation but we know the blessings are a thousandfold and we shall return these blessings to others and it goes around.
For me it is not that our acts are extraordinary but how extraordinary that act can be for the person receiving it. I am always humbled when I received extraordinary acts of kindness from strangers and I can only return it with me practicing the same; even to animals and plants.
“At the end of life we will not be judged by how many diplomas we have received, how much money we have made, how many great things we have done.
We will be judged by “I was hungry, and you gave me something to eat, I was naked and you clothed me. I was homeless, and you took me in.”
― Mother Teresa