There is a photo floating around on the Internet, as they often do, that has gone a little bit viral. I featured it on the Bitchy Waiter Facebook page yesterday and it was shared by over 500 people and seen by over 127,000 others. The photo shows a very generous tip for a waiter along with this explanation:
A random act of love in memory of our son Joel. He brightened everyone's day. May this brighten yours. Thank you.
I don't know who Joel was or which server was on the receiving end of this act of kindness, but isn't it amazing how something as simple as a $50 tip can make all the difference in the world? Fifty dollars is not going to change anyone's financial situation, but the fact that it was given under such wonderful circumstances can in fact change someone's life. Let's think about this.
Joel obviously left a huge hole in the lives of the people who loved him and the way they have chosen to fill that void is to offer random acts of kindness in his memory. The fact that photo has been seen by so many people is a testament to what a wonderful idea it is. As for the server, we know that he or she was no doubt excited to receive a 150% tip, but we can be fairly certain that it changed the way they look at things. Maybe that server took that offering of goodwill and did their own good deed later that day. I would imagine it would be hard to not want to give that feeling to someone else after someone gave it to you. And I'm not talking about the money.
Of the 127,000 people who saw this photo, I wonder how many of them were inspired enough to do something equally kind and no, clicking "like" or sharing it on Twitter does not count as a random act of kindness.
Here is my challenge to you: I challenge anyone who reads this blog to come up with their own random act of kindness. We don't all have fifty extra dollars to leave to a server, but there are hundreds of other ways to be kind to strangers. Think of something and then do it.
- Maybe the next time you are in the drive through at McDonald's just tell the cashier that you want to pay for the car behind you.
- Or if you are waiting for the 7 train and you can see the N train is coming but the doors are going to close before those people have time to cross the platform, hold the doors open and let hundreds of people make that connection.
- If you see an old woman trying to get her push cart over the curb, take two seconds to do it for her.
- At work, do the sidework for someone else and see how happy you make them.
- If at work you see someone's coat fall off the back of the chair and onto the floor, pick it up and place it back on the chair without telling them.
- Make an extra sandwich or have an extra bottled water to give to someone you see who may need it. It's just a sandwich and chances are you're gonna throw out half of that lunch meat next week anyway.
- Let someone get in front of you in the line at the post office.
- If you use the last of the paper towels, change the roll.
What makes all of these random acts of kindness so special is that they sometimes go without being acknowledged. People may never know who did them that favor. It's part of human nature to want validation for something done right but on the other hand nobody likes a person who's all, "Hey listen to this good deed I just did. Aren't I great?" So do it without expecting a thank you. If you must have people know what you did, then write it here in an anonymous comment. That way people will see what a wonderful human being you are but by remaining anonymous you won't look all needy.
I vow that today I will do at least one random act of kindness. Hopefully, the person who is on the receiving end will then do one as well. Think how wonderful a world we could live in if everyone kept doing random acts of kindness for people and then all those people did it too. It would never stop.
Yes, this blog post is uncharacteristically non-bitchy, but sometimes we have to stop and be thankful. There is not one person who is reading this who does not have the ability to be kind to a stranger today. Not one. So do it and see how it affects your day. I have been known to be kind before and I can guarantee that it makes you really happy. Don't believe me? Try it and find out for yourself.
I hope you will share this so we can get the word out about how important it is to be kind to one another at least once in a while. Take the day off from being the cynical bitch you usually are and let that old man have the seat on the bus. Your legs may be tired but your soul will feel refreshed.
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