Monday, June 28, 2010

Random Kindness

The other night, I was walking home and waiting for the light to change at a crosswalk. A young couple came out of the corner store and unwrapped Ferrero Rochers as they waited with me. I thought to myself that there were three chocolates, and three of us, and how awesome it would be if they gave me the third golden-wrapped ball. Of course they had no reason to - I didn't know them - it was just a fleeting thought.

The light was still red when the young woman spoke. "Excuse me," she said, "this is for you." In her palm was the third Ferrero.

"Thank you," I responded, only slightly startled. "That's very kind of you."

The light changed as I plucked the chocolate from her hand, and we walked across amicably. The three of us continued along the sidewalk for a time, not quite together, but not quite apart.

This was quite unexpected in Sydney, where I've found I'm more likely to be ignored than greeted in the street. It reminded me of church youth group in Ontario, where we would occasionally perform a RASK (Random Act of Senseless Kindness) for the evening's meeting - hanging candy canes from every available public space, for instance. Some days I feel quite isolated, even living in a big city, and I've finally come to terms with the fact that I'm unlikely to bump into someone I know - which used to be nearly impossible to avoid in my hometown.

Lately I've been wondering what random kindness I could perform to make someone's day a little less empty. What could you do? Not everyone would give up their last Ferrero (and not everyone would accept it either) but surely, we could smile more. We could hold the elevator for our neighbour down the hall. We could let someone who is rushing go ahead of us in the coffee lineup.

Has someone been kind to you lately? Pass it on.

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I sometimes buy ice cream sandwiches at the Market On Yates, and sit outside and offer them to passer-bys. Most people accept them - they probably feel they're safer because I'm 2 meters from the entrance to the grocery store...

Its not fully altruistic, since I think i do it so I will eat less. I'm replacing my self-control with changing my circumstances! However, if I were not going to give lots of them away I wouldn't buy them in the first place...



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