Today’s good people post is not about a man saving 50 people from a burning building, nor about a dog rescuing a family in the Himalayas, nor about a woman stopping a runaway car with her own car. How often do any of us find ourselves in those situations and with the wherewithal to be a hero? When’s the last time you were walking and came across a burning building? Note that I am not putting those acts of heroism down … no, not at all! But I’m just saying that most of us will never, or at best once in our lifetimes, have the opportunity to be that sort of a hero. But … unless you’re a hermit like me … you interact with people on a daily basis, whether it’s a store clerk, librarian, a coworker, someone you pass while out walking the dog, or just the postman delivering a package. And every interaction is an opportunity … an opportunity to maybe brighten someone’s day and to practice your ‘good people’ skills.
Last year, Axios did a three-part series in their Finish Line newsletter about the little things people do to help someone or brighten somebody’s day, and I thought it would be fun to hear what the recipients of those little acts of kindness thought. We tend to undervalue those simple little acts of kindness when we do them, but as you’re about to see, they are much more highly valued by those on the receiving end.
This first one really moved me …
- “Some 30 years ago, I was working on recovery from a horrible depression. It was harder than anything I’ve ever done. One morning, it took everything I had to make a grocery run. As I dragged myself toward the store, a man looked at me and smiled, saying, ‘Good morning.’ I felt so much weight lifted off me. I could, for the first time in months, see a way out of my sadness.” —Sherri W., McKinney, Texas
A simple “Good morning” and a smile made so much difference! And how much effort did that take? That’s why on my Jolly Monday posts I’m always reminding you to share those smiles … you just never know what someone else is going through and how much your smile might mean to them.
Here are some of the other comments from recipients of small but important acts of kindness …
- “The first time I was traveling alone with my daughter — who was 11 months old at the time — a stranger on a plane offered to hold her after we landed so I was able to gather our things and have a moment to breathe. It meant the most to a young mom with her hands full.” —Abby D., Des Moines, Iowa
- “A fellow lawyer, a total stranger, put money in a parking meter for me when he realized that I would get stuck in court beyond the time I had left.” —Avraham M., West Hempstead, New York
- “Just the other day I was trying to navigate a stroller through a coffee shop … not a glamorous task. When I went to leave, a man came darting from across the entire coffee shop to open the door for me. … It truly set the tone for my entire day.” —Lily M., Atlanta, Georgia
- “My wife and I, both in our 70s, were loading heavy bags of rock for a landscaping project into our car. A woman approached and loaded the rest. As she finished and turned away, I shouted, ‘You have restored my faith in humanity.’ She responded, ‘We all need that.'” —Roger R., Ballwin, Missouri
- “I left my backpack, complete with my work laptop and files, on the busy NYC subway one evening. I was certain it was lost forever. I made a claim, panicked, and worried and worried again. … Then came an email and a text: ‘I have your red backpack.’ This amazing and kind medical student brought my backpack to me.” —Jane C., NYC
- “Several years ago I was struggling to lace up my very large and cumbersome — but totally awesome — dress in the Maryland Renaissance Faire parking lot. The girl getting dressed at the car next to mine offered to help me do up my laces.” —Caroline M., Walnut Creek, California
- “My first day working in a new city, I exited my office building and couldn’t remember how to find the train station. A stranger walked by, noticed I looked lost, and doubled back to see if I needed directions. I fell in love with Chicago that day.” —Spencer W., Chicago, Illinois
- “When I got to the checkout, my 3-year-old ran away and my newborn started crying inconsolably. The lady behind me took over packing my shopping so I could find my son and calm my newborn. That act has always stuck with me because I had been feeling so overwhelmed and that helping hand made all the difference.” —Katherine N., Oxford, U.K.
See how easy it is to be a ‘good people’? Let’s all dig up those smiles and kind words this week, hold the door open for someone, smile and say, “Hey, how ya doin’ today?”, and see if you can brighten someone’s day. You never know … OH!!! And just in time, here’s Jolly and Joyful with that basketful of smiles! Take a few and share them, won’t you?