Kindness Goes a Long Way…

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By Stacey Rose, PhD, LCSW

Okay, here’s a confession…I’m addicted to Dunkin’ Donuts iced tea and egg white sandwiches. I said it. But my addiction is not the point here. Instead, the point I want to make is that even with all the stress in our society and people running from one thing to another, kindness still exists. While going through the drive thru to get my ‘usual’ one morning on my way to my office, I drove up to the window and reached out my hand with my money in it to the woman in the window. She said, ‘the driver in front of you already paid for you.’ I was aghast; truly taken aback. Yes, sure, I have heard that people do this. Yes, I have done it for family and friends who have followed me on the Garden State Parkway somewhere (before the days of EZ Pass). But a random stranger on no particularly special day, simply decided to buy me breakfast. It started my day off with a smile and set a positive tone for the rest of my day. It was so nice of this ‘stranger.’ I tried to remember what kind of car was this person driving, was it a man or a woman, and how could I thank them. Clearly, this generous person didn’t want any thanks or recognition. But instead, maybe he or she simply wanted to be kind and maybe for me to pass it on or ‘pay it forward’ by being kind to someone else.

Oscar Wilde said, “The smallest act of kindness is worth more than the grandest intention.” So, it got me thinking…what can I do that is ‘kind’ for someone, no matter how small? What have you done that is considered kind? What have others done for you that meant something special to you? Remember, this does not have to be big. So, I started smiling at random people as much as I could. My face started to hurt by the end of the day, but it was amazing as I began to get happy responses from ‘strangers’ that I otherwise may not have gotten. I also started using peoples’ names more; even people I didn’t know. For instance, if I went into Wegmans, I would use the cashier’s name (on her nametag). It got people to smile more at me too and to open up and have a conversation.

Life is short and there are no guarantees. Isn’t life easier and more enjoyable when people are kind? Go do something today that is kind… you might just make someone’s day.

Oh, and to whoever it was that bought me breakfast, thank you.