As a parent, I try to impress upon my boys the importance of being kind, of doing unto others as you would have done unto you. Consider the image of helping a little old lady across the street, or doing something as simple as holding a door for a stranger. I just love the insurance company commercials about the impact of the random acts of kindness and how the recipients pay it forward. I have, over the years, done things like that--my kids roll their eyes and think I'm crazy, but I think once their brains mature, they'll understand better. Last year, on the way home from the state baseball tournament in Columbus, Matt and I stopped at a Steak & Shake somewhere around Marion. They were decidedly short-staffed, and I could tell our waitress had had a very rough day. I won't say I had exceptional service, but given the circumstances, she did a good job, so I left her a $10 tip on a $15 bill. She'll remember it someday when she sees someone else having a bad day. I didn't do it for attention (and that's not really why I'm telling the story), just to point out that little things can have a lifelong impact on others. (and my son has told this story numerous times, so like it or not, it's had an impact on him and he still thinks about it.)
I've had a long, miserable week at work (well, sometimes at home because I've spent the better part of a week fighting a migraine). I had someone who works for me break a leg, someone else return from maternity leave (yeah!), projects that have had major issues, a couple that have done well--all in all an exhausting week. Traffic was nasty coming home, and as I turned on Phillips over to Lewis, there was a guy on a bike, obviously on his way home from work. With gas prices what they are, I understand his mode of transportation. But he wasn't wearing a helmet, he had on headphones, and he was holding up traffic by drifting in and out. It was getting a bit frustrating, but then came that random act of kindness... There was a couple struggling to either load or unload a washing machine from the back of a pickup truck. The man on the bike started to ride by, then stopped, pulled off the road (freeing up traffic--yeah!), and went over to help them take care of what they were doing. It was pretty obvious that he didn't know these people, but he interrupted his commute to take a few moments to help out a stranger. He was actually dressed nicely as well-- not in clothes I'd use to be moving heavy loads. My frustration vanished, and the rest of the ride was peaceful, if only in my mind. You can be sure, after having witnessed this, that I will be looking for the next opportunity for my own random act of kindness ... just like those commercials.