One of my goals this year is to complete more random acts of kindness. I had a whole game plan to spend my entire birthday doing just this, but funds are tight after the holidays so while I still will do this I have to do those deeds that don't cost money.
I've seen so many people this holiday season talk about someone buying them a drink while in line at Starbucks, I even did this myself two times. It was great to hear about this happening, I just hope it continues through the year. We all so often get generous at the holidays and then selfish the rest of the year.
Doing a random act of kindness can be simple. Ask someone that looks lost if they need your help, help an elderly person put groceries in their car, take your shopping cart back up to the store. The key is JUST HELP.
Today I did something that may have been foolish, but I feel like I have a solid head on my shoulders. I was talking to my mom on the phone and was sitting in the parking lot at work. I had noticed a car while driving in stalled on the side of the road. The man got the car going but it died again right outside of our parking lot. A bunch of men went over to help him push the car. They all mingled around talking to him and then left him there. The gardeners gave him a gas can, but then left him there. He stood on the side of the road to flag down a tow truck...who just drove right past him. He talked to another man in the parking lot and again was just left. He had made eye contact with me at one point while I was in my car but saw that I was on the phone and walked away.
Finally I asked my Mom to hold on, opened my door and asked if he needed help. He asked if I could take him to get some gas or take the can and put some gas in it..with money he provided. I told him I would take him. I then told my Mom I had to go as I was going to help a man get gas.
Once he was in the car I got a little scared. What the hell was I thinking? I'm a Mom, I have people who rely on me! I'm letting a stranger in my car. I've watched enough horror movies to know that's when it goes bad. The girl says, "I'll call you back, I'm going to help someone."
Turns out this guy was late for an interview. He had taken the day off to try and find a better job that was full time and was now late because he ran out of gas. His car had been stuck in the floods a month ago and all of his electrical keeps shorting out. He thought he had a half a tank. We got him gas and got him back so he could start his car.
Could it have gone bad? Yes. Was I certain it wasn't going to? Pretty much. I sometimes think maybe we don't help people because we are so afraid that everyone is the bad guy. We watch too many horror movies. We see to many bad things happen and we get jaded to all the good in the world. We spend our days staring at computer screens and phone screens and have lost touch with what it is like to even interact with people on a face to face basis. It makes us uncomfortable.
I'm not telling you to let some stranger get in your car, but put your phone down every once in a while. Look at all the good there is and see if maybe, just maybe...there is someone out there that you can help. Someone whose day you might take from bad to good.