I started Kindness Week early so that I could have a blog post ready for Monday… I hope that’s not cheating. 😉
I instantly knew that I wanted to brighten a stranger’s day. There’s something exciting about having a positive influence on someone you’ve never met and maybe will never meet again. Although you have no idea what their day was like or even what trials they may be going through, you have — for a few moments — the ability to bring a smile, some comfort, and maybe even laughter into their life.
Maybe they feel invisible and your action will remind them that people out there still care. Maybe you will remind them that there is hope. Or maybe you will inspire them to also pay it forward, and they will be a generous gift to someone else’s life.
We just don’t know.
So today, I found myself in line at Dunkin Donuts with the motivation to not only buy myself a hot chocolate, but also to pay for the car behind me. Silly me, I was so nervous about it that I drove past Dunkies once before I found the courage to actually pull in. I’m not sure why, to be honest, although I’m sure it just means that I need to do such things more often. 😉
When I had pulled up to the window to pay, I whispered to the cashier, “I’d like to pay for the car behind me.”
Red mini-van. Probably a tired mom at the wheel. She could use a bit of kindness in her day, I’m sure.
“What’s that?” the cashier asked, reaching for my money.
“I’d like to pay for the car behind me,”I repeated, just as quiet but slower.
Why am I terrified of her hearing?
“Oh, okay, cool,” he said, bobbing his head and smiling. “Why, do you know them?”
Oh my goodness, I need to just pay and escape. That is the plan. Please stop asking me questions. I just want to do my good deed and then run away as fast as I can before the people behind me figure out what happened.
Breathe, Nicole. Breathe. Stop being silly!
“No, no, I don’t know them,” I replied. “But some friends and I are trying to do acts of kindness this week, so I thought that this would be a good place to start.”
“Nice!” he said. He handed me back my change.
I smiled back and then took off as fast as possible.
As I pulled onto the main street and went on my way, a happiness spread through me, and I found myself smiling. Because even if I didn’t know who had been in that van, our paths had just crossed. And I was pretty convinced that I had brightened their day, if even only for a little while and in only just a simple way.
That, in turn, was enough to make me feel special too.
Of course, it was also around this time that I reached down for my hot chocolate and realized that in my desperate attempt to get away so quickly, I had left before the cashier handed me my hot chocolate. I had just paid for it.
Oh, well, it really is better to give than to receive. 🙂 And sometimes, doing something kind for someone can warm you even more than a cup of hot chocolate ever could.