Random Acts of Kindness

When I was dropping off my 2nd care package to my soldier I adopted (if you’ve been thinking of adopting – now’s the best time!) I found myself in a conversation with the post man after he found out – after asking why my soldier would need sunscreen, no doubt – that I had in fact never met my soldier and probably never will, but that it didn’t matter because my reasons for adopting him went beyond personal reward, as in, being paid back by him in the future. I realize that, like Phoebe found out in that episode of Friends, that no good deed is purely unselfish, sending him letters and care packages makes me feel good, but that’s pretty much the extent of my satisfaction for adoption.

Anyways, the lovely gentleman went on to say that “You’ll be rewarded someday sweetheart; don’t you worry about that. You’ll get yours.” Now after laughing the unintentioned ominous words he chose to use, I got to thinking about karma and what it truly means to get back what you put out times 3. I mean, I don’t perform acts of kindness only because I want to receive – I do them because I can. Really, what is a cup of coffee to a man on the street, what is an apple and a free Starbucks drink to that girl trying to get ‘home’, what is holding a door for a mom and her stroller but just moments out of my busy day to acknowledge another human being?

However, a few days this week and a few strangers in my lovely city have managed to re-affirm my faith in random acts of kindness and just how powerful small acts that strangers do for other people out of the kindness of their hearts. I’d like to share with you 2 that particularily touched my heart.

On Thursday morning I was doing groceries – which turned out to be a fantastic time because Hartmans was practially empty and it took me 1/2 an hour total which can some times take me an hour to do. I was waiting for a cab to bring me and my 4 heavy bags of food home, and when the car came I had to carry each bag to the curb. Of course me being 5’2 and 123 pounds, this wasn’t exactly an easy feat. A gentleman who was outside smoking saw my struggle and jumped in, taking 2 bags for me and saving me a trip to and from the corridor. I mean, he could have kept on smoking and I would have been none the wiser, but he stopped, put out his cigarette and gave me a hand – which was very much appreciated. I thanked him graciously as he closed the door for me and the car took off, carrying me and my groceries home with a smile on my face.

On Friday evening after returning from a hair cut, I realized that I forgot my bus pass in the jacket pocket of my black winter coat at home. I had just switched jackets to a red winter coat and, since I was in such a rush, forgot to transfer everything into my much smaller purse for the evenings hockey game. Having less than 25 minutes to get to the game, I couldn’t exactly go home, go upstairs, unlock the door, find my jacket, retrieve my buss pass, lock the door, go downstairs, walk to Bank St and catch the #1 or #7 in time. I decided to pick up bus tickets at the corner store where in the past I’ve avoided the crazy line ups to get my monthly pass. After walking there and waiting in line behind a gentleman buying cigarettes, I asked the man behind the counter for a sheet.

“I’m sorry madame, but we no longer sell tickets. We don’t get commission from them so it wasn’t worth it. I’m sorry sweetheart; try across the street, I think they sell them.”

More disappointed than shocked, I greeted his kind apology with an “Oh… ok. Thank you.” and started to think about my plan of attack, and whether or not I could make it in time to the hockey game. As I was turning to leave and just about at the door, I noticed that the gentleman who was in front of me in line had stopped just at the door. Confused, I reached for the door only to be greeted by this:

“Here you go.”

I looked to my left and saw him ripping 2 bright orange bus tickets – 4$ worth – from his collection and handing them over to me.

“Oh… are you sure?” I asked him, in shock and awe that this was actually happening to me.

“Yes of course! Please take them.” He said with a smile, his eyes shining through his glasses.

“Oh, thank you so much! Thank you… thank you very much!” I replied, smiling and taking the tickets graciously, only to find that he had provided me with enough to get me to the game and back – 2 bus rides – for no reason than performing a random act of kindness.

“No problem.” He said – and disapeeared into the night.

So to those two gentleman of Ottawa – thank you so much. Your random acts of kindness have not gone unnoticed – and to anyone thinking of or doing such acts; whatever you put out will indeed come back to you, just when you need it.

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~ by Carrie on January 31, 2008.

30 Responses to “Random Acts of Kindness”

  1. Aw, how sweet! I love random acts of kindness πŸ™‚

  2. My stepbrother died over in Iraq and this post made me smile/cry just thinking about people like you who actually take the time to let them know someone is thankful and cares.

  3. @ Valerie ~ Thanks! RAKs make my day πŸ™‚

    @ LeanBean ~ Hi! Thanks for stopping by. I’m sorry for your loss; no doubt he was a brave and good man. I’ve got 2 soldiers in Iraq and 1 in Afghanistan I send little love notes to every chance I get, and I’m really happy to hear that they and their loved ones appreciate little tokens of thanks.

  4. That right there is karma in action!

    I love that episode of Friends, by the way πŸ™‚

  5. @ Cheryl ~ Damn straight that’s karma! ME too; it’s one of my favourites!

  6. Alas, only in Canada! πŸ™‚
    I don’t think there’s anything bad in doing something because it feels good to do and it helps another out.

  7. While it’s been a hell of a week, this post made my day. Thanks for letting us all know that there are still good people out there. And as for adopting a soilder, you have just inspired me to sign up, really it’s the least we all could do. Thanks πŸ™‚

  8. Think that the help with the groceries and the bus tickets had anthing to do with the postman’s prophecy?

  9. It’s like the pay it forward phenomenon. I love that.

  10. @ Evans ~ Oh 😦 there are no random strangers in America that help? I met some nice people in Dulles while waiting for my airplane!

    @ Semichrmd ~ Aw… thank you. I’m glad I brought a little bit of sunshine to your day! And YAY! Congrats for the adoption!

  11. @ George ~ I’m not sure… it could have been a prophecy, or he could have pointed out karma…or it could be both. Perhaps he put out to the universe to send me a little somethin’ something. Either way it was VERY much appreciated!

    @ Airam ~ I LOVE the pay-it-forward phenom. It’s the best thing I’ve learned about.

  12. First, I’ve never actually thought about “adopting a soldier” but now you’ve peaked my interest and I’m going to look into it–good for you!
    Second, I completely agree with you regarding the karma thing. I have many karma-related stories myself and am a firm believer in the ‘pay it forward’ concept (althouh not a huge fan of the 2000 movie of the same name).

  13. It is nice to know that there are still random acts of kindness out there. This post has inspired me to go act kindly in a total random manner tomorrow. Although here in So Cal, you can get slapped if you try to act to kind

  14. @ SeattleGirl ~ I, too, was horribly disappointed with the movie; great concept – but TERRIBLE! And YAY! There are SO many soldiers who need an angel; and really, it takes almost no time and I think the US postal service delivers mail free to APO soldiers!

    @ Michael C ~ Oh my; that’s a fine line to walk in So Cal.. so I guess the wrong Starbucks drink would warrant a slap?

  15. Were you going to see the Sens?
    (I’m not sure if my Canadian-ness has shined through since you’ve started reading me… but I adore hockey)

    It is funny how little effort such an act takes for how much it can make a day better!

  16. I love these stories. The headline station I listen to has started highlighting little stories like this. People call in and share how people have done little things just because. I love it! I don’t know why people just don’t think to help… or even to say “Thanks” or “have a nice day!”

  17. Its lovely of you to do adopt a solider and you much deserve the random acts of kindness that come your way!

  18. @ Princess Pointful ~ Close! I was going to see the 67s, our junior team in action. My next Sens game is in February vs the Flyers. Should be a good one – so long as nobody gets injured. Stupid Flyers.

  19. @ Exception ~ True that. I always say “thank you” to someone who holds the door for me, or just a smile to acknowledge their helpfulness and kindness. If we responded the way we should to these random acts of kindness, I truly believe we’d see more of them.

    @ Ruby ~ Thanks girlfriend!

  20. funny how simple things like that can restore your faith in humanity.

  21. @ Michelle ~ right on sista; right on.

  22. I love quiet moments like those with strangers, maybe karma is what sees us surrounded by good people who can help out when we need it.

  23. what a lovely post carrie!

  24. @ Kyla ~ well said my friend; perfectly said if I do say so myself!

    @ skcitygirl ~ thank you! nice to see you back!!

  25. Thank you, carrie! I think you summed up pretty damn well why I lean towards Hillary versus a capable Obama. Tell ya what, I’ll think of you when i cast my vote in tomorrow’s primary! Almost as good as having your own!

  26. @ Evans ~ Thank YOU!! Woot!!

  27. Oh my gosh. This story brought a tear to my eye. The random acts of kindness really are little to none in our times, but they do happen. It’s all Karma, i tell you. Thank for for sharing this beautiful story.

  28. @ Tiffani ~ hi! thanks for stopping by! I’m glad you enjoyed my story as much as I enjoyed living it; RAK’s truly make my life – when I’m the giver or the receiver.

  29. Would you be able to help us spread the word? http://www.kindnotes.wordpress.com

  30. @ kindnotes ~ sure thing!

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