Friday, April 22, 2011

Random Acts of Kindness

Ever done something totally random for a stranger? It's kind of fun. I've always liked those stories of the car ahead of you paying your toll on highways, or at parking lots, but I've never done that myself, nor been on the recieving end.

But once, I did do something like that. I had at the time decided I would never talk about it, but it was long enough ago that I think the egoism is gone from it, and I can feel comfortable sharing it.

I was coming out of the library back to the parking lot and my truck, when I looked over and saw that someone's meter had run out and they had a ticket on their window. Spur of the moment, I dug out my wallet and pulled a five dollar bill out, knowing that to be the cost of the fine from, ahem, past experience. Feeling like I was getting away with something, I quickly looked around, then stuffed the money into the envelope stuck under their windshield wiper.

I'll never know the person I helped, never see their amazed face or recieve their gratitude. But what a thrill, to think about their reaction, to imagine their dumbstruck, half-believing smile at finding money where they'd only expected irritation and cost. I still think of it sometimes and smile myself; not out of self-righteousness or personal pride, but at the thought of this random person's reaction. It's a small thing, a tiny little ripple of positivity added to the world, but it's something. To brighten a random person's day just a little bit, with nothing really in it for you, yeah, I highly recommend it.


  1. When I lived in Salem, Oregon, there were a lot of homeless folks. On several occasions, I would go to the deli at Safeway or to Rock 'N Rogers (a 50's style hamburger joint) and purchase a full meal. I would then give it to the first homeless person I encountered.

    I fully realized that this act wouldn't change their overall situation, but it did mean a somewhat nutritious and filling meal for that moment.

  2. I'm with RT on this.
    It is a nice thing to do; it is the point of giving being better than receiving. I am astonished sometimes, though, at some people's stinginess.