10 Steps to Finding Your Happy Place (and Staying There) is a program to help us develop habits to grow a joyful spirit. Many of us sabotage our happiness by habits that we might not even be aware of. Identifying and changing these habits can build a reservoir of well-being to enhance our happy times and sustain us during challenging times.
Wednesday, April 24, 2013
Witness to a Random Act of Kindness
Carry out a random act of kindness, with no expectation of reward, safe in the knowledge that one day someone might do the same for you. ~Princess Diana
This morning I was on my way to an appointment amidst busy traffic as people hurried to work. All of a sudden cars ahead of me stopped.
I saw that a pick up truck driver was trying to back a U-Haul trailer into a narrow driveway. He was not very skilled, and even with a helper standing behind the trailer giving him directions, he still had trouble negotiating the intricate maneuvers of going in reverse with a trailer. He would back up a bit, the trailer would angle too wide, he would pull forward and try again. With each try, he got a few feet further.
Meanwhile, the double lane of cars stacked behind me continued to lengthen. There must have been at least forty cars at a standstill. Those of us close enough could see the harried and embarrassed look on the driver’s face as he tried again and again to get that darn trailer to back straight in.
We were stopped for several minutes and yet not one driver honked. All around me, I felt the patience and compassion of the other drivers, or at least the amused tolerance. Finally, the driver managed to back in far enough to clear the street. The trailer was still angled awkwardly, but it would have to do. As cars started forward, he waved apologetically. Many of us waved back.
Have you witnessed a random act of kindness lately?
related posts: A Few Leaves; Mi Casa Es Su Casa; The Kindness of Strangers
Subscribe to: Post Comments (Atom)
This is refreshing to hear that people were showing tolerance, what would have been nicer is if someone offered to back that trailer in for the individual... unless nobody knew how to drive one of those units, if I offered traffic would still be backed up for miles and miles! lolReplyDelete
Have a wonderful day Galen!
darlin, I did think about offering to help, but, like you, I was pretty sure I would just make the situation worse. I could see that every time he tried, he did a little better, so I was confident that he would get the trailer backed in eventually! Thanks for commenting.Delete
LOL! Love it. Random act of kindness- my coworker took the time to design me a new logo for my blog. She spent over 2 hours on it and when I wanted to give her credit she didn't want any. :)ReplyDelete
Vrndavana, That was a sweet gift from your friend! And a true gift since she wanted nothing in return. Thanks for commenting.Delete
That's so inspiring. I certainly need to work on patience and your post encourages me to do so.ReplyDelete
Sandra, I was really surprised that not one person honked. I think we were all just so relieved that it wasn't us trying to execute a difficult maneuver in front of a bunch of people! Thanks for your comment.Delete
That sure was wonderful, and to witness such an act of kindness is being in the right moment at the right time I would say :)
While I haven't experienced any recently, but yes, one does see people being kind enough otherwise. But I wonder how some people would reacted when they have to wait in the traffic and that too patiently as you mentioned. Most people would have screamed our heads off, or kept honking till the poor driver went nuts! This was indeed wonderful lesson for all of them :)
Thanks for sharing. Have a nice day ahead :)
Harleena, I think it was a rare confluence of all the right people, staying calm, sending energy support, and waiting patiently. Thanks for commenting.Delete
This story does my heart good. I think when we take the time to pause and consider how the other person feels--in the case of the driver, probably very embarrassed and harried--we react so much better.ReplyDelete
I was on crutches for weeks, and still have to use them some, and I've still got a boot on for a broken foot. I have been touched by the strangers that will go out of their way to open doors for me. Sometimes they will start up a short conversation, and I consider it a blessing to have these brief connections with others.
Tina, Thanks for sharing your own experience with random acts of kindness. It's not fun to be dealing with a physical injury, but how wonderful that you can accept and appreciate help from others. (Hope your foot is healing fast!) Thanks for commenting.Delete
Aw! Made my day!ReplyDelete
We can never be too kind to one another, can we?
Thanks for this post, Galen!
Martha, So true, there is no such thing as too much kindness. Thanks for your comment. By the way, just got your book and I'm looking forward to reading it!Delete
It's these small acts of kindness that really give me hope for humanity. Things can look so dark sometimes but compassion in action has a way of bursting forth it's light through that darkness. I remember breaking down in the middle of a thunderstorm when my daughter was just about six months old. We broke down at an awful intersection that was known for collisions and I didn't feel safe staying in the car to wait for the two truck. I got out and the nearest store was about a mile away. I was walking in the pouring rain holding my crying baby tight to me. I remember a mother pulling up, kids in the back of her van, offering to drive us home. She was like an angel! I was so thankful for her extending her compassion to us and being willing to help us even if she didn't know us.ReplyDelete
Jessica, That is a wonderful story. A similar thing happened to me when I was living in Paris. I was out with my toddler son and it started to pour rain. I was far from home and I flagged a cab. The driver said he was off duty and couldn't go that far. He drove off and a minute later came back and took me home. There are kind people everywhere! Thanks for your comment.Delete
Several years ago, I was impatient with a sales clerk. Not rude, exactly, but not very pleasant. I was having a crummy day. Afterwards, I felt terribly guilty and made a vow to ALWAYS be pleasant to the people I come in contact who are serving me. If they're cranky, I go out of my way to try and make them smile. It changed everything for me. I have to admit, I'm not perfect 100% of the time. But, you'd be surprised how many people comment about how friendly I am.ReplyDelete
Cathy, We've all done that, taking out our bad day on someone else, especially people who are not in a position to push back. How wonderful that you were self aware enough to see what you did and change your behavior. Like you, I try to be especially mindful of people who are helping me. I like to spread compliments, and I often will speak to a supervisor about friendly service.Delete
And no, I would not be surprised about how many people comment on your friendliness. Your photo says it all! Thanks for commenting.
Love this story, Galen! Thanks for sharing it. You and I are fortunate to live in Portland, where in some ways random acts of kindness are a way of life--if you count letting people merge in front of you, offering your place in the grocery checkout line to someone who only has a few items, etc. But this post has made me determined to pay more attention and really note them.ReplyDelete
Charlotte, You are so right. We are spoiled by living in a place where random acts of kindness are the norm! (The incident I described took place on SE 39th near Powell, so you can picture how busy that street is in the morning.) I like what you said about paying attention to these acts and not taking them for granted. Thanks for your comment. By the way, I am so enjoying your book!!Delete
Great story Galen and thanks for sharing it. With what is going on in this world today this is so refreshing. it just made me smile. If we would all do an act of kindness everyday we can change the evil in this world and make it a wonderful place to live.ReplyDelete
Let's all make a pack to lead a life of kindness and shove that evil out the door. We can do this!
Debbie, What a great idea--sign me up! My daughter and I used to play the Kindness Game (something I made up). We would go through our day looking for opportunities to be kind to people. It was a lot of fun! Thanks for your comment.Delete
That was so nice. I wonder the presence of some influenced the others since we are connected. I venture that happened. It would taek just one, maybe you!ReplyDelete
Jodi, I wonder, too. As I was sitting there, I thought maybe no one wanted to be the first person to honk! as Charlotte noted in her comment above, Portland tends to be a place where kindness is valued and practiced. So in that sense, I think there is a community influence like you are describing. It is evidence of the connection you mentioned. And yes, I think that can start with one person. Thanks for commenting.Delete
I loved the quote and the example of a randon act of kindness. I love it when there are positive news stories on TV reports. Regretfully, we don't see them often. I that random acts of kindness happen all the time and I have experienced them myself from time to time. I also try to look for moments to serve others. I know that as I have aged that more often someone will do something sweet like letting me go ahead in a line. I love your blog posts and am greatly uplifted by them.ReplyDelete
LeAnn, There are some advantages to getting older, aren't there?! I agree that it would be nice if we heard more news about acts of heroism and kindness rather than all the pain that people cause each other. Thanks for your kind words.Delete
Thank you for this story Galen! It really makes me happy to hear that there are patient, nice people out there.ReplyDelete
Betsy, There are indeed! And I think a lot of them live in Portland. Thanks for commenting.Delete
I must admit I have not witnessed it lately, but I have seen it many times. In fact, I used to make that a class assignment years ago when I taught high school. The kids were not allowed to reveal who it was that performed the kindness. Initially, they thought that would not work because they wouldn't get credit for their good deeds. However, they eventually understood the real meaning of a good deed, and they used to report back to me that it was one of the best lessons of their lives.ReplyDelete
JJ, What a great assignment. That's sort of like The Kindness Game that I used to play with my kids. I'm not surprised that your assignment made a lasting impression. Thanks for your comment.Delete
Good reminder Galen. As you know, giving is one of my resolution's for the year so I'm looking for random acts of kindness to do everyday :) This was a good one which was spontaneous and practiced by a lot of patient drivers!ReplyDelete
Vishnu, Yes, not honking would definitely be a way of giving. I would love to hear about how this resolution is playing out in your life this year. Thanks for commenting.Delete
Such a feel good story, Galen. Thank you for sharing.ReplyDelete
Wonderful story Galen. I enjoy your stories as always. :)ReplyDelete
Kim, Thanks for your kind words.Delete
When you read my post about affirmation and random acts of kindness in a few days, please know I wrote it before seeing yours!ReplyDelete
The more we talk about kind acts and people's ability to care about each other the better our world. Your story was perfect...and very unexpected. ...people not honking? I knew I liked Portland.
Great minds thinking alike again, right?! Looking forward to your article. Thanks for your comment.Delete
I doubt that the act of kindness that you have just described will ever happen in the crowded streets from where I come from. Drivers can get very aggressive and impatient. I stay near an intersection of two major roads. Every morning, irate drivers are honking away at the cars in front of them!ReplyDelete
So yes, I totally agree. If more of us can practice consideration, the world will be a much nicer place to live in.
Evelyn, I have lived in places like your home with lots of traffic (I'm remembering Bangkok). Horns were used all the time. Even when there is a lot of traffic here, people tend to keep their impatience to themselves. Horns don't make the traffic move any faster. I'm grateful that people here are generally kind drivers. It does make my city a nicer place to live in, as you said. Thanks for commenting.Delete
That was nice. He was probably stressed about the situation. I remember when I first started driving that I was blocking an ambulance by accident, so I pulled up on the curb and eventually the ambulance got past me. A lady drove by me and flicked me off. I was very upset because I didn't do it on purpose. I just didn't see or hear it coming and when I did I steered the wrong way.ReplyDelete
I saw a stranger help a handicap man in a wheelchair get back in his wheelchair after he fell out of it.