3 Awesome Ways to Spread Kindness to the World « Pun Intended
Written by Bamboo Forest


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… Β 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 :*)

19 Responses to “3 Awesome Ways to Spread Kindness to the World”
  1. Hi Bamboo,

    These are great ways to spread kindness. I often do #1. Others have done it for me and I know how I appreciated not having to wait.

    I think we all like to hear kind words or a compliment. It makes another person feel better and doesn’t cost us anything. I see it as a win-win.

    In fact, I’m off to Twitter to retweet this and spread the word. πŸ™‚

  2. Marelisa says:

    Hi Bamboo: If I have a lot of items in my grocery cart and the person behind me just a few, IΒ΄ll let them go ahead of me in the line. It is pleasant when random strangers smile at you for no reason, and I think it makes you more willing to smile at the next person you come across. Kindness is contagious πŸ™‚

  3. @ Barbara: It’s a wonderful act of kindness to let someone with very few groceries to go ahead of you. Extending kind words can be very encouraging.

    Thank you for the retweet!

    @ Marelisa: That’s a great deed to allow those with less stuff go ahead of you.

    I agree… I think smiling or saying hello or both can have a very positive effect. It is contagious, good point.

  4. Tabbie says:

    #1 is a great suggestion. Sometimes I even do it, haha. (hey, at least I am learning) πŸ˜‰

    #2 Would backfire for me. Either I would get shot by the person in the other car (I live in a rough town) or I would end up locking my keys in my car.

    #3 All I can say is… noooooooooooooooooo πŸ˜€

  5. I don’t know, sometimes when I offer an act of kindness people are shocked and their first reaction is to refuse. Sad, really.

  6. Writer Dad says:

    Awesome Bamboo! I do the first two all the time, though I have to confess I must not be as kind as I think. I have NEVER handed out toothpicks at a restaurant. Not even once.

  7. Hey Bamboo,

    Right no, this normally happens when you’ve got like two or three items and the person in front of you has a cart packed. πŸ™‚ Wow, the toothpicks suggestion is neat and weird and I’m curious to see how people might react.

  8. @ Tabbie: We’re all learning πŸ˜‰

    I highly recommend #3. People will really appreciate your kindness.

    @ Vered: I can see how that could happen. Perhaps because people aren’t used to it.

    @ Writer Dad: Well… My crystal ball says that you soon will give #3 a try. I can’t wait to hear how it went.

    @ Miguel: I have a hunch that many people will react by spending a few hours at their favorite restaurant passing out toothpicks. Kindness is something we can all work on.

  9. Microchips and toothpicks. Hmm. Definitely food for thought.

  10. patti says:

    Bamboo-

    Awesome post!!!- Very well put- and oh so true-Loved it!!

  11. Davina says:

    I’ve switched places in line at the grocery store many times. Sometimes I get a strange look when I offer that. People are funnily enough, not always open to an act of kindness. I agree with Vered — it’s sad. The same goes for saying hello to people on the street or smiling and receiving a blank stare. Maybe more of these people should be reading Pun Intended.

  12. @ TheLawyerMom: Pun Intended is all about giving beautiful people beautiful things to think about.

    @ Patti: Thank you.

    @ Davina: I say hello a lot on the street. I really do believe it’s an act of kindness. I know it brightens my day when I’m on the receiving end.

    You got that right. Many tens of thousands more should be reading P.I. And, your readership is greatly appreciated.

  13. Alex says:

    greeting people, even just a smile or a nod, can completely change things for them.

    the first two are great as an exercise but i don’t think you have to supplicate or put yourself second to do sometihng kind for others.

    i think the kindest thing that you can do for somebody else is let them be who they are. be fully real with them. ask them how they are, genuinely interested, and let them answer. talk to them instead of at them.

    care for them and feel your deep connectedness.

    look in their eyes and see yourself there.

    Awesome blog.
    Talk to you soon.
    Alex

  14. prufock says:

    I have to disagree with the sentiment being expressed throughout this post. These are not ways to express kindness, they’re ways to feign kindness.

    Spending your time getting in front of people in line at the grocery store is not saving them time. If you want to save them time, stay out of the line, or the store, altogether.

    Getting out of your car to boast that you’re giving up a parking space – one that you weren’t planning to use anyway – is only wasting their time and being obnoxious. Stay off the parking lot, and they would have found that space anyway.

    And who wants someone else’s hands mauling a toothpick that they’re going to put in their mouth?

  15. @ Alex: Just a smile and nod as you say can indeed change things. And drastically. That’s also a good point that letting another person talk and listening to them in a genuine way is a very good practice.

    Thank you. And thanks for dropping by.

    @ prufock: haha, that’s too funny. Thanks for the great laugh.

  16. Janine says:

    Wow, these are all lovely ideas and I even might do some of them once in awhile, and my secret inner self would love to do them all the time.

    But you should have seen me tonight driving up Third Ave. downtown after coming in from the GWBridge… I’m sure some of my fellow drivers are still talking about the maniac with the horn.

  17. @ Janine: I think abuse of the horn is highly abusive. It’s totally obnoxious.

  18. […] more on random acts of kindness checkout Three Awesome Ways to Bring Kindness to the World by Bamboo Forest of Pun […]

  19. Fenix says:

    I think Prufock missed the point…or hell i dunno mebe I missed the point seems to me like pretty much everything you write on your blog is for fun only and not to be taken uber seriously! πŸ˜€

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