18 February 2009

Mini-Blog: Embracing Kindness

I'm not a Twitterer in the true sense of the (fake) word. (Though I do tweet, sir.) ((Ahem, sorry, bad Shakespeare allusion...))

ANYway, I feel that Twitter can be a slippery slope and must be treated with the respect due to it (which is not to say that I haven't seen it used very effectively). As such, I post when I have something to say, but otherwise lurk. And I'm an expert lurker. In fact, while lurking today, I noticed a theme: people can be jerks and/or sweethearts. Behold the human condition.

So, I came up with 7 days of random acts of kindness, effective immediately. I hope it's self-explanatory, but the point is that I'm try to be proactive in my randomness, and less self-absorbed and selfish, by doing at least one randomly kind thing for someone else with no end-game other than making someone else's day better (and maybe feeling good about myself afterward).

I'll be sure to keep you posted on what I come up with. In the meanwhile, please share the random acts you've done or had done for you. It might help give me, or others, some inspiration. I just get tired of hearing bad news all the time. Don't you?


Megan said...

I don't know how kind this was, but once in a parking lot, I noticed a car looking for a parking spot. I knew where a good spot was so I walked up to the car and told them where it was.

I don't know what else to tell ya.

Samantha Elliott said...

That was very nice. I tried that once, but the people in the cars pulling into the garage either ignored me or looked at me like I was nuts. No good deed, eh?

Anonymous said...

... A LtCol in front of me in line at Starbucks bought my drink for me, once... It was a venti Tazo tea, cost less than $2, but it's the thought that counts, ne?

Anonymous said...

I didn't forget this, not by any means, just needed a reminder of how much this kindness meant to me...

I'm military, and recently moved from Okinawa, my very first duty station, back here to the U.S. I had joined right out of high school, and since being in the military had gone through training (wherein you lived in dorms, couldn't wear civilian clothing, and were fed three free meals a day) and was stationed in a foreign country (where, again, most everything was provided for you). Sufficed to say, I was rather naive about the way the "real world" worked.

Within weeks of arriving at my new duty station, I had spent too much on a car, too much on a hotel, too much on apartment leasing, on a cell phone, on food...

I'm not proud of that month, not very proud of the following one. And, mind you, I am incredibly dependent on my own sense of self-worth to get through the day. When I found myself begging for help in the finance office of my new base with absolutely no idea how I was supposed to make it another week with less than five dollars to my name, I broke down and cried, right there in the middle of the office.

There are many things my pride won't let me do. Begging and crying in public are very high on that list. I do not beg.

But, there I was, and still nothing I could do, because the paperwork needed a signature from a commander that had been sitting on it for the last three days and showed no sign of relenting.

I left that office in the arms of the airman who had to give me that news, trying vainly to hide my face from the people in the waiting area, and wondering at how far and how fast I had fallen to land in a place I had never imagined myself being.

She hugged me, and she apologized for not being able to do anything, and I could see true sympathy in her eyes, and I cried for that, too, for I viewed it as further proof of my weakness, of my failure. And, she hugged me, again, and left, there was a really long line of people waiting for her, after all.

I left there, still hopeless, still helpless. It was cold, only fall but already very cold to my island-honed senses. I put my hands in my pockets, because I hadn't had the sense to buy gloves before I got there. I put my hands in my pockets, and felt something there that hadn't been there, previously. I pulled it out, unwilling to believing what my touch was telling me.

Eleven dollars and a piece of paper that had nothing but a phone number and a quick scribble of "Wish I could do more."

Those eleven dollars somehow managed to feed me until the paperwork was signed, five days later, and that letter... That letter made me cry every time I saw it. Tears because of the reminder that it was of my moment of need. Tears because of the reminder it was of her moment of humanity.

I never called her. My pride is still torn about on how to manage with what happened, and as time goes by, it becomes easier to pretend those weeks didn't happen, not to me, at least. But, even now, I can't help but wonder at the kindness she showed me, and can't help but hope that she knows how much it meant to me, that ray of light she shined down into my dark time.

So, even though you'll never read this, even though I will probably always be too much a proud coward to seek you out and tell you in person, thank you.

Anonymous said...

Jen you made me cry so much just now...

That is the greatest story EVER!

Well aside from sam's fiction of course!


Anonymous said...

Personally, B, I prefer the Starbucks one. ^_^

Samantha Elliott said...

I'm willing to bet you prefer the Starbucks one because it's more comfortable. But I'm also willing to be that in a year, two, or ten you'll still remember the kindness of that airman, and not the free tea.

And thanks, B, for the compliment. :)