Random Acts of Kindness

Posted on 29 December 2009

Random Acts of Kindness

“The everyday kindnesses of the back roads make up for the acts of greed in the headlines.”  (Charles Kuralt)


Because the world has become so hectic and self-absorbed, small acts of kindness can have monumental impact.  Unexpected and asking no reward, the acts themselves are their own compensation, for they leave the recipients feeling valued and uplifted.  Why, then, don’t we practice them more often?  They are certainly easy enough, and include:


  • Holding a door open for a stranger: a mother with a baby in a stroller, a handicapped person, someone
        struggling with packages, or just the person entering the store, restaurant, or office building after you,


  • Allowing someone to get ahead of you on line in a store,


  • Offering your extra discount coupons to someone shopping in the same place,


  • Giving way to another vehicle on the road, whose driver may truly have a pressing need, such as a
        child waiting to be picked up from daycare, 


  • Paying for the coffee or the toll of the person behind you,


  • Running errands for an elderly neighbor who doesn’t get out much,


  • Walking and/or feeding your neighbor’s pet when he is working late,


  • Shoveling your neighbor’s walkway in inclement weather, or


  • Returning a lost wallet.


Recently, I had the opportunity to perform that last act, which cost me nothing but a phone call.   One of my customers left his money clip on the counter of the store where I work.  Because his driver’s license was in the clip, I knew who he was, but was unable to find him listed in the telephone directory.  He comes in quite frequently, but I did not want to wait as he’d left his money behind along with his license.  I knew about how frantic I would feel if I had lost my wallet and its contents, so I called the police for assistance.


A few days later, my grateful customer returned to the store to thank me, as the police had told him that I was the one who had found the clip.  He had not even realized it was missing until the police came to his house to return it.  My customer gave me a card in a sealed envelope, which I did not open immediately.  When I finally did, I was quite surprised to find a reward inside, just for doing what was right.


When the man came back to the store later that week, I told him that I did not want the money.  He insisted that I keep it.  Although this situation happened to reap an unforeseen monetary reward, most acts of kindness are performed simply because we treat others as we hope to be treated.


Sometimes, fear of the unknown holds us back from being kinder to people.  One of the first lessons we learned as children was the admonition not to talk to strangers.   For instance, we might overanalyze the results of helping someone in obvious need, such as a homeless person.  We worry that he may attack us, or we fear hurting his pride if he has not asked for our help.  Instead of feeding our fears, we can step outside of our compartmentalized selves long enough to imagine how terrible it must be to be homeless, cold, and hungry.  Once we consider those things, and how blessed we are in comparison, it becomes easy to give a dollar or two, a blanket, or a meal that, even from a fast food chain, would probably seem like a feast.  A small kindness will give a homeless person a measure of comfort and restore, at least temporarily, his faith in a world that he must surely believe no longer cares about him.


We never know when the tide may turn and we may be in need of some type of assistance.  Only when we work together to uplift the spirits of others can we make this world a more peaceful and happy place.  To help reach this goal, you may want to consider the following quotes that really strike at the heart of the matter:


“You cannot do a kindness too soon, for you never know how soon it will be too late.”
(Ralph Waldo Emerson, who must have known a thing or two about regret.)


“So many gods, so many creeds,
So many paths that wind and wind,
While just the art of being kind
Is all this sad world needs.”
(Ella Wheeler Wilcox)


“Kindness is the golden chain by which society is bound together.”


If you would like more on kindness and how to spread it, you may want to visit http://www.actsofkindness.org/.

This post was written by:

- who has written 82 posts on Write On New Jersey.

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8 Responses to “Random Acts of Kindness”

  1. Terry says:

    Particularly at this time of year, we should be more considerate of everyone with whom we come into contact. A little kindness goes a long way. When you think about it, we as a society make the rules, and we can change them. Who is it that dictates that a bank must foreclose on the home of a struggling family that has fallen behind in their payments? The bank’s management? Its stockholders? Are not the managers and stockholders people who might appreciate a break or some type of consideration for their own deficiencies in other avenues of their lives? The Golden Rule derived from Jesus’ expression “love your neighbor as yourself” presents us all with both an example of selfless love and a challenge: to promote a more peaceful, happier world via infinite forgiveness and compassion. Each of us makes decisions that affect others on a daily basis. What will you decide?

  2. Shell R. says:

    Bravo for this article.

    When I was very young, my sister found a wallet full of money, quite a bit of it, at a little amusement park we sometimes visited. My father went out of his way, constrained to use public transportation to return the wallet to the owner. The man was so stunned by this random act of kindness, he did not thank my father much less offer him a small reward. My father was upset by this and pehaps a bit bitter.

    A few years later, I lost a wallet with some money and more importantly, an irreplaceable memento from a deceased relative. I was beside myself until my doorbell rang shortly after my discovery of the loss. There stood the stranger who’d found and returned my wallet. What my father did not receive from the owner of the first wallet, I received through the kindness of the man who’d returned mine.

  3. Kathleen Felleca says:

    If anyone who wishes to perform a small act of kindness clicks this link, the article will give you a fast and easey way to do that, and you’ll feel so good doing it:


    Many thanks!

  4. My Social Relevance says:

    I wish somebody would have returned my wallet that fell out of a bus.

  5. Stephane Lorquet says:

    I was just looking at relevant blog posts intended for a project research and My partner and i happened to stumble on yours. Many thanks for the useful info!

  6. EB says:

    thanks !! very helpful post!

  7. FPS says:

    In a neighborhood in South Dakota, a mom and her three kids lived in a nice neighborhood. Because she was a widow, the community was very helpful and supportive of her when she moved in. They would bring her homemade meals, desserts and even offer to baby sit while she found a new job. Of course, this woman was very happy about the support and such that she received. The man who lived next door would often come out and talk to her over the fence. She enjoyed gardening, so she would weed the garden and plant seeds while they chatted. The woman noticed that her daughter enjoyed talking to the man as well. Several times she watched the man laughing at her daughter’s 8 year old jokes over the fence. For some unknown reason, it made the hair on the back of her neck stand up.

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