My friend Christian asked me to do one selfless act of kindness for a total stranger before Sunday last week. I accepted.
Selfless: having little or no concern for oneself, especially with regard to fame, position, money etc; unselfish.
I was trying to come up with what would make me happy if someone would offer me a random act of kindness… Diamonds are a girl’s best friend! So I went through my jewellery box and picked out necklaces I haven’t used for the past 6 months, wrapped them up nicely and headed to the closest shopping mall to find my pray. I was walking around in the commercial Christmas rush, really trying to spot out someone who I intuitively felt I could stop for a while and offer the jewellery to.
Everyone was rushing around and I felt uneasy stopping anyone of them to offer my well intended act. Everyone were so busy and they all seemed to be in their own world. “They’ll just get annoyed if I interrupt them.” And what if they didn’t like my jewellery?
Suck it up Mia…I thought, and decided that the next females I see sitting somewhere, I would approach. And then I saw a woman in my own age sitting with an older woman, assuming her mom, having a snack in the mall. I went up to them and explained to them I’ve been asked to do a random act of kindness and that I’m giving away some jewellery. Both women looked at me with a bit of a confused face and smiled vaguely. I placed the jewellery in front of them and asked if they would like them. The younger lady said thanks but no thanks, her exact words were “I think there are others who need them more than me”. Ok, so I turned to the older lady. I saw her looking at the silver necklace so I handed it to her and said please have it, consider it as a Christmas gift. She accepted it, smiled and wished me a Merry Christmas.
As I walked away I was thinking why the younger woman wasn’t interested in even looking at the jewellery? Was she offended I was offering her used jewellery? I mean, it was nice jewellery which was in good condition. Or was she shocked that this was really just a random act of kindness and that I didn’t want anything in return? It had nothing to do with her. Are we so costumed to only being kind to those in need of help that we instantly, when someone offers us a kind act can’t accept it as a kind act, we directly associate it with the need for help? Are we too proud to say thank you…? This random act of kindness left me feeling more confused than happy.
As I was thinking about this, my bus home arrived and I stepped on it. In front of me was a teenage boy who tried to get on without paying. This didn’t pass the bus driver unnoticed – “Mr! If you don’t have a ticket, you don’t have a ride!” The boy didn’t have a ticket, nor any money. So, I turned to the kid, and offered I’d pay for him. He didn’t want to accept it at first, but as I insisted that it’s all ok he finally accept my offer. He mumbled thank you and quickly sat down in the bus. When he was getting off the bus a bit later he turned to me with a big smile and said thank you again. That thank you was sincere and it warmed my heart! I was happy.
What I noticed was that if we are more inclined to constantly keeping an open mind for doing random acts of kindness, we’ll notice when we cross paths with people who will be grateful we are there at that exact time, in that exact space to reach our hand out. I believe that the more we keep an open mind to sharing kindness all the time around us, and the more of us who do this, will result in less people who refuse it, don’t know how to handle it or too proud to accept it. Because in the end of the day, whatever we do has a ripple effect either we are aware of it or not.
So my question to you is…how can you best make sure that ripple effect is a kind and positive one?