Random Acts of Kindness
Every once in awhile I will see a post somewhere about something terrible someone did followed up with the line, "Faith in humanity = destroyed."
It's easy to forget that every day millions of acts of kind, considerate, and generous things are being done. We just don't talk them as much as we should. You have the right to focus on the bad things happening. You also have the free-will choice to focus on the good things. And if you do, you are guaranteed to feel happier, more energized and more inspired in your daily life.
I would like to share with you a random act of kindness that has always stuck out in my mind. I bet you have one too, something someone did that meant more to you than they'll ever know. Today's challenge is for you to focus on that moment, to hold it in your mind as your primary thought. Then see what you notice. See what shows up. See if the world doesn't seem a little brighter, a little better to you.
I was 25 and travelling alone in China. In Beijing there is a famous tea street. My guide book touted it up as a must-see, considering China is a land of tea producers and consumers. I took a cab over there and stepped out, expecting to be greeted with the usual throng of locals and tourists.
This time, however, something was different. There were no tourists. There were no English signs, no friendly faces who could tell me what to see or do. In fact, there was nobody. The street was empty of people. My guidebook gave nothing more than a blurb on this. I felt overwhelmed and started to get nervous. The cab that had brought me there was long gone. No more were in site. What was I doing there, alone? Nobody knew I was there.
As my anxiety heightened I walked down the street, unsure what to do. In a foreign land there are times when you feel okay, and then there are times when everything feels like an alien planet. At that moment, I was a solitary explorer on planet X.
A light drizzle turned into a downpour. I regretted coming. I felt foolish and so alone. I stood on the sidewalk in the rain like some sad sugar cube waiting to dissolve.
And that was when the man in the suit came sprinting at me.
I looked at him, frozen in place. I had nowhere to run. No one to call for help. Now I was in it. He came right up to me and stopped. We looked at each and he said something. What was it? I'll never know.
He thrust his hand holding an umbrella out. He held the umbrella over me. I smiled. What a sweet gesture. He continued to say something, but I couldn't understand. Finally he took my hand, gently, and put it on the umbrella. I tried to hand it back, but he refused to take it. He walked me to a covered balcony, gave a little wave, and ran off into the rain.
I watched him go and a warmth came over me. So I was alone. And scared. And feeling foolish. But it was okay because there are good people in this world. People who want to help, even if no one's looking to congratulate them on the nice thing they did. Even if it means they have to run through the rain without an umbrella that moments ago they had.
I walked up the street and saw a tea shop that had a friendly vibe. I was bolstered to go on, to not give up on this exotic tea I had been dreaming about. I stepped in and was greeted by the friendliest faces ever. They welcomed me, as best they could. I was given sample after sample of tea by a young Chinese woman. She giggled often, explaining in detail even though I was just smiling and nodding. A couple times she poured the tea over the head of a frog.
Had that man not done a randomly kind thing for me I would've stood on the corner, in the rain, until the next cab showed up. I would have gone back to my hostel soaking wet, miserable, and embarrassed. But because of what he did I had one of the best experiences of my life. I walked out of that shop with boxes of tea I couldn't have gotten anywhere else. More important than the tea though was the knowledge that kindness is everywhere.
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