Illustration by =kaiminden
How do you feel when someone says hello to you in the street? Doesn’t it make you feel really good? It does for me.
While I’m a huge advocate for greeting people, and think it’s unfortunate many of us are like heartless, mute statues exhibiting stone faces when passing each other… I still think there are other areas we must explore to spread kindness and good will.
Let’s take a look at these three:
Let Others Get in Front of You in the Grocery Line
Waiting in a long grocery line is the pits. We can send a man to the moon, catapult satellites into orbit capable of seeing the date of a dime laying on the earth’s surface and clone babies for sterile couples – but why oh why must we wait in line to buy a jar of pickles?
Something is seriously wrong here.
I long for the day when grocery lines are more like toll roads with electronic passes. Implant the stinken microchip into my shoulder already so I can whiz out of there and be billed at the end of the month.
But I digress…
To express kindness I challenge you to spend an afternoon or evening at your local grocery store getting in line to purchase items. After you’ve been waiting 15 minutes and it’s finally your turn, very slowly (for dramatic effect) turn around to face the person behind you, rub your nose with your thumb and say, “I’m not in a hurry here, you can go in front of me.”
What you’ll witness in response is a glowing smile reminiscent of a kid who just stepped into a Chucky Cheese on his birthday. The person is now able to get the hell out of there much quicker and all because of you.
After this act of kindness immediately glance at your grocery list and act shocked and embarrassed like you’ve failed to put half your list into your cart and leave the line abruptly. Now go into another long line and repeat this process again and again until the store closes.
By the end of the day you will have contributed to many dozens of people getting through the grocery line that much quicker.
Pat yourself on the back. You spent an entire day in service to others.
Give Your Parking Space Away
Ever tried finding a parking space on a Saturday afternoon at the local mall? It’s the pits, right?
When we extend kindness to others, we sometimes have to sacrifice our time and energy to do so.
Here’s what to do:
Spend an afternoon at your local mall looking for places to park. When you finally discover one, drive a quarter into it at an angle, but no more, as you want to prevent the vehicle behind you from going around you.
Very slowly (remember, the dramatic effect heightens kindness) get out of your car. You may want to adjust your tie after the door slams behind you. Cautiously walk toward the car you’re blocking and gently bend down and rest your face just behind their side window while expressing a glowing smile.
Don’t relax from this fixed position until they put the window down. Once they do, this is your cue to say, “Hi… As I was pulling in I realized I really don’t need this spot, and… well… you look like you’re in a hurry. I’m going to back out. It’s all yours now.”
Make sure you have a full tank of gas before you embark on an afternoon of this service; running out of gas is about the worst thing that could happen to you.
Hand Toothpicks Out at a Restaurant
Now I have to admit – this is the one exercise of kindness I haven’t done yet, so I’m not exactly sure what will happen if you do choose to serve in this way.
Nonetheless, I think it’s a fabulous way to extend your love to others.
Go to your favorite restaurant and have yourself a glorious meal. If you can’t afford it, which is understandable in the current recession – opt not to have a meal, the important thing is that you enter the restaurant.
Stand by the toothpick dispenser and vigilantly watch for anyone attempting to reach for it; when they do, swoop in front of them and swiftly get one for them.
Now slowly extend your hand toward them with the toothpick laying in your palm like you were offering up a marriage band to your beloved.
Once fully extended, allow your hand to stay in place toward them, until they take the hint and grasp for the toothpick. Maintain steady eye contact throughout and hold a bright smile; you don’t want awkwardness here.
You’ve just made their life easier and they get the toothpick they were looking for.
Kindness really is important. You really can make a difference in the lives of others, the only question is will you?
Well… I have a long afternoon ahead of me; I’m off to the Piggly Wiggly. Going to engage in random acts of kindness : -)
What about you? Any acts of kindness in your future?
I sure hope so :*)