If there is one thing that I hope I accomplish in this life, it’s to treat everyone with kindness. Even those people who can sometimes rub me the wrong way. I honestly believe that killing someone with kindness is more effective than being antagonistic. In fact, not responding in a heated way generally wears people down so much they eventually just give in to my mellow persuasions. 🙂 Well, some of the time…
I was struck this morning by an article I read on Deseret News that profiled a man in Alpine who has started a website promoting charitable acts of kindness. The site is called goodwillpaidforward and this is how it works:
- You buy a sheet of 10 laminated tags for $14.95
- Each tag has a specific code on it; you log on to the site to activate your tags
- Once activated, you are free to do something wonderful for someone else and give them a tag
- Tag recipients can log onto the site and put where they received the tag and what happened – and then pass it along again
To date, over 11,000 acts of kindness have been tracked on this guy’s website. It has been featured on MSNBC and the contagiousness of goodness just seems to keep rippling outward.
You don’t need tags to get started on doing something kind for someone else. But the cool thing about this site is you get to see how a tag gets shared from one person to another, a veritable wave of good deeds that you set fire to.
Just a couple of years ago, I was the lucky recipient of an act of kindness. I had been dreading for several weeks the announcement at work of impending layoffs, all due to the fact that I was the youngest on the team with the least experience at my company and therefore a prime target for the chopping block. I had only been there 5 months which meant I would be ineligible for any severance pay or other benefits as I would’ve been short of the 6 month requirement to receive such things. When the Black Day came and I ended up surviving the cut, I was so thrilled (and relieved) that I took Caden out to eat that night at Wingers. (when you have a 5 year old, that’s what constitutes a nice dinner)
Sitting down at dinner, Caden asked rather loudly, “So, why are we eating out again?”
“Because we’re celebrating that I still have a job!”
“Oh…okay. Can I have the mini corn dogs?”
As we sat there enjoying our dinner, I noticed just across from us a middle-aged man and his two teenage daughters. The man looked at me a couple of times, smiled and nodded, and being polite and friendly, I smiled back. Halfway through my dinner, they left and he caught my eye again and said with a knowing smile, “Enjoy your dinner.” I didn’t think another thing of it until we finished our dinners and the waitress came over and asked the sinful question, “Have you saved room for dessert?”
“Oh, no, I think we’re all right, thanks.”
“Well, you can have it for free you know because your dinner has been paid for. That gentleman who was sitting over there took care of your tab and said you should get a dessert to celebrate.”
“Your dinner’s paid for. Would you like a dessert?”
I sat there in stunned silence for a moment as the reality of what this total stranger did for me sunk in.
“Oh, and he told me to give you this.” She handed me my tab receipt and scrawled on the bottom of it was a message. “Congrats on your job! Get dessert to celebrate.”
I was so overwhelmed at his kindness and generosity, tears sprung to my eyes and I wished I could’ve had the opportunity to thank him in person. It made the great news of the day even sweeter and little does he know the impact that gesture made in my life that day. So many times I have often reflected on that moment and said a quick prayer in my heart that he gets blessed a hundred times over.
Dessert reminds me now that good deeds are not dead…which is why I can justify getting them from time to time.
Goal for the week? Accomplish an act of covert kindness to somebody at random. And then repeat.