I had a brief experience this morning that was very small and quick that it could have gone unnoticed. The reason I noticed it, though, is because I could tell it left a big impact on the other person, so that left a huge impact on me.
On my drive to work this morning I came upon a stop sign at a very busy road where I needed to make a right-hand turn. I got to the intersection a few seconds before the car across the street from me who wanted to make a left-hand turn on the same road. Although I had the right of way since I got the intersection first and I was making a right-hand turn, I quickly assessed the situation and realized that the vehicle across from me had a relatively small window of time to go or he would have been stuck for a bit longer. Since I was turning right onto the road I had more options to pull out than he did, so I waved for him to go first.
Although it was the simplest gesture on my part, I could tell I made this man’s day. He waved to me very happily and even mouthed “thank you.” I flashed him the peace symbol and was able to pull out right after him. After following him for about a mile, I went on the ramp to get on the tollway while he went straight. When he saw that I was going to turn and would no longer be behind him, he gave me another wave of thanks. I waved back and ventured on.
This very small exchange that transpired over the course of no more than 2 minutes did make me take pause to smile about how happy the man was. His happiness made my happy. It also made me realize how infrequently these exchanges occur, so that made this moment stand out that much more. Think about the last time someone was kind to you on the road. Most times, it is brutal with a sense of entitlement that they should be in front of you because they are much more important. How terribly sad.
I try very hard to pay attention to my surroundings at all times, but I made a vow to myself to really pay attention so I can give kindness whenever I can….and even in the smallest of ways. I didn’t have to wait too long because today when I met a friend for lunch I was walking quickly into the restaurant because she was already in there waiting for me. However, as I always do, when I opened the door I took a look behind me to see if anyone else was coming. I saw an older man who was walking with a cane about 30 feet behind me. I thought for a second about continuing through the door because he was just far enough behind me that I don’t think it would have been rude to not wait (What is the “rule” for that anyway? All I know is we have all had that one idiot who was only 3 steps in front of us yet the door slams in our face. Therefore, I know the “rule” is to hold the door if you can feel the person’s breath on your neck!)
Anyways….since I saw that he had a cane I decided that I would wait. You should have seen his face! He was so appreciative that I waited and held the door for him. The restaurant had a double entry, so he said, “hold on, let me return the favor for you” and he then held the second door for me. Again, it was such a quick and simple exchange, but here I am writing about it tonight.
I think it is important to be kind at all times, looking for opportunities that you can make someone else smile. If more people would do this regularly, I truly believe the conversation in the world would change. Instead of walking into the kitchen at work to get coffee and stumbling upon a conversation of, “….then the asshole cut me off and I had to slam on the brakes!” “Wow. How horribly rude. I am convinced all people are idiots and I am beginning to understand what triggers road rage” maybe would turn into, “…this very nice person saw that my arms were full so they actually ran ahead of me to get the door. That was so nice!” “That is great! I love it when I can do something like that for people too. It makes me feel good when I see the surprised look on their face.”
This isn’t cheesy stuff. This is important stuff that makes a difference and goes a very long way. I encourage anyone reading this to challenge yourself to do 5 nice things a day for someone else. This could range from the examples already provided above to picking up someone’s print job at the printer and hand-delivering it to them to telling someone that they look nice to solidly looking someone in the eyes to say ‘Good Morning’ or ‘Good Night’ or ‘Thank You.’
If any of you reading this takes on this challenge, please circle back to this post and leave a comment below to let me know how it worked out for you. Without knowing, I know that it will bring a smile to YOUR face, it will make you more positive, and the reactions you receive will be pure pleasure and appreciation.
I think when someone is comfortable with who they are and likes themselves for who they are, it is easier for them to naturally do this. I guarantee that if you are not someone who is fully comfortable with yourself, it you practice being kind to others, you will quickly see yourself in a different light. It is all about BU2BFULL — being yourself to be full and live a full life. And part of living a full life is to help others along the way.
Good luck with your challenge, and feel free to report back!
Love and Blessings,