"Our background and circumstances may have influenced who we are, but we are responsible for who we become."

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Acts of Kindness

Life has been throwing hurdles at me left and right it seems lately, putting me in a bit of a slump. For weeks, I have been trying my best to pull out of it. So I tried to start doing things that I knew always made me happy. I've been reading and writing, I drove down to visit the Ford Family Foundation, but then this morning as I was laying there in bed I had an idea. People often forget that kindness is free. Something that has always brightened my day was brightening other peoples day. So today I went out into Albany and decided to do five random acts of kindness.

My first act of kindness was leaving encouraging notes on strangers cars where ever I went. Each note was different accept for one thing, on each one I reminded them to take a deep breath, slow down, and realize that today is a great day to be alive. Not only was I reminding these strangers, I took it to heart myself. As I strolled through the Walmart parking lot, I slowed down and took in everything around me. I watched as a father ran through the parking lot with his little daughter in his arms saying, "Oh no! Hold on! We are going SO fast!!" then spinning her around up in the air. I listened to her giggles ring through the cold, crisp air. There is no happier sound than that of a child's laughter.

In my second act of kindness, I decided to leave a couple of sweet treats in my mailbox for the post office carrier. Attached to them was a note thanking them for all that they do and wishing them happy holidays and a wonderful rest of their day. For anyone who has been in a post office during the holidays, we all know they are not so enthusiastic about their jobs(understandable).

In my third act of kindness, I sat down and hand wrote a letter to someone who has positively influenced my life. I wrote to them thanking them for all they have done for me without even knowing it and expressed my sincerest gratitude towards them. I dropped it in the mail and hopefully they will be receiving it here within the next couple of days! :)

My fourth act of kindness kind of hits home. For those of you who don't know, I come from a single parent home. My mom is my hero and is one of the strongest, kind hearted women I have ever met. My next door neighbor also happens to be a single mother of two cute little kids. I've only formally met her once and it was because her washer malfunctioned and flooded both of our apartments. So I decided to go to the dollar store and pick up some coloring books, crayons, and stickers for the kids, then I picked up some chew bones for her lab, who loves to come greet me when her door is open, and then I gave her up to $40 worth of savings through Papa Murphy's, since I have seen her in the store a time or two. I wrote a note telling her that she is doing a fantastic job and to enjoy her holidays with her kids, signing it simply "A Neighbor". I placed it all in a gift bag and set it in front of her door, knocked and ran away and hid.

Last but certainly not least, my fifth act of kindness I actually did last night while I was at work. We were in the middle of a rush and I was on the till, when an older woman hobbled up to me. She had called in an order of several pizzas. There was a line of people trailing far behind her. I asked her, "Would you like some help out tonight?" She glanced at the line of my other customers behind her and turned to me and said, "Oh no that's ok I think I could probably manage." "Are you sure?" I asked her, "I really don't mind at all."
Normally I would ask one of my other co-workers to help her out so I could keep the line moving on the till, but instead I requested another worker to take my till over so I could walk her out. I turned back to her and said, "Come on, I'll help you out." I walked along with her at her slow pace. She was in visible pain, hunched over and limping. As we walked out she was telling me that she was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis. For those of you unfamiliar with the disease, it affects the flexibility of the joints, eventually causes cartilage to deteriorate and can move to the organs such as the lungs and the heart causing a lot of pain and very limited mobility over time. She continued to tell me that her pizzas were for her daughters birthday today and that was all her daughter wanted. She pointed to the woman sitting in her passenger seat who you could visibly tell was mentally disabled, "That's her there" she said. She held onto her car as she made her way to open the trunk. I set the pizzas in her trunk and walked her over to the drivers side. As she opened the door I wished her daughter a happy birthday and she gave me the biggest smile and waved to me. I told them to enjoy their pizzas and to have a wonderful night. With that they were off and I was walking back in the chaos of my job, but with a different outlook. Slowing down and appreciating each person giving them nothing but positivity, even the man who decided to sing to me about how much he hates Christmas.

We are all facing the same hell in this life, just different devils. Today I was reminded of the happiness and satisfaction I get out of helping people and brightening some one else's day, even if I can't brighten my own. I have now retired to my old recliner in my warm apartment, thinking of how grateful I am for everything I have and that I was blessed enough to wake up this morning and get another chance at another day. Even though I still have my struggles, for the day I pushed them aside and put someone elses before mine. My struggles will be dealt with in time and everything that is meant to be will work out.
Happy Holidays everyone...Don't forget to pay it forward.

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