The Art of Kindness. It costs absolutely nothing to practice & show. Today we have a guest post from Richie (@richie_travels), talking about kindness from a personal experience.
Every day we go through life trying our best to do and say the right things, in the hope that maybe one small gesture can change someone’s day somehow.
They say to try and smile at a stranger, that one small act could save a life one day. It’s those small gestures that can go a long way to making a huge impact on someone.
Recently I was on the receiving end of such a gesture myself.
I work as a Taxi driver and tend to be up really early most days (between 4 and 5 in the morning), I got a phone call a couple of weeks ago really early on a Saturday morning that a really close friend of mine had been found dead the night before. I was getting ready for work and the news hit me like a ton of bricks. He was only 47 years old and died suddenly.
I managed to get myself dressed for work despite being in a state of shock. Looking back, everything seemed like one of those really surreal dreams where nothing makes sense. With no intention of just sitting in my house waiting for my first fare, I jumped in my taxi and drove to the nearest McDonald’s so I could buy myself a coffee and get my mind off the situation and focus for a while before taking some work.
I managed to place my order at the drive thru but by the time I reached the payment window, I couldn’t compose myself any longer and burst into tears. I literally sat there sobbing into my money bag looking to find the right change to pay for the coffee. It was quite an embarrassing moment which made me feel very vulnerable. When I apologetically explained that I’d had some bad news to the girl waiting to take payment whilst trying to compose myself, she said “I don’t know what must be going through your head right now but I can see you need this coffee, so this one’s on me, as my way of saying that I hope you’ll be ok.”
That there, was the small gesture from her that made all the difference. How easy would a cliche “sorry to hear that” throwaway comment have been for her to say? And if she had, it wouldn’t take away from her kindness or intent, but it wouldn’t have really done much to help me. As selfish and thankless as that sounds, have a real think about those words, especially if you’ve ever had this sort of news yourself.
The way people tip-toe around you as if they’re scared to break you. They avoid trying to offend you and stick to the cliche sayings. Granted, they mean well, but it doesn’t do much to help your state of mind.
I didn’t hesitate to accept her offer despite having enough money to buy it because I understood it was an act of kindness and I wanted to let her.
As I drove away and found a quiet space to pull over and enjoy my coffee, it really did make a huge difference.
She didn’t know what to say and spending £1.79 on buying a stranger a coffee was a small deal for her, but the gesture held a message of solidarity and comfort that spoke so much louder than any words ever could have.
So my message to you is this. Don’t try too hard to say or do the right thing. Just be kind to people and do what comes naturally. If someone’s visibly upset and you don’t have the words, just do something nice instead. However small the gesture is, if it’s from the heart, it will be appreciated. Throw them a tissue, put an arm round them, buy them a coffee, or just tell them you’re listening. Anything! Because however small it is, you’ll have made a big impact.
What I love about Richie’s story is that a complete stranger was kind, she probably doesn’t realise how much of an impact it made on Richie by buying that coffee during that difficult time. Less is more, just keep it simple, yeah?
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