This I Believe

Margaret - Fort Atkinson, Iowa
Entered on May 22, 2006

I believe an act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever done in vain. Growing up, my mother always stressed the importance of being kind to others. She would say, “Meg, it doesn’t matter if you are smart or beautiful, because at the end of the day, all that really matters is that you are kind to all.” I can recall the countless times I have tried to live by this philosophy, and the countless times I have faltered in my attempts. I remember how frustrated I would get, “What’s the point of being kind if I never receive any consideration in return?”

It was on a crisp afternoon in October that I began to understand the full impact of kindness. As I sat on the bus, staring lazily out the window, the bus came to an abrupt stop. I sat up and looked around, and found Noah sitting bewildered in his seat. The bus driver was just informed that we had passed Noah’s house a couple miles back. The driver was on a tight schedule, and Noah’s grandma offered to pick him up at the house to which we were nearest. Now the closest residence had a huge dog, and naturally any child would be terrified of a beast of that size. Nervous thoughts were running through my mind as I watched the face of a trembling child get out of his seat. I stood up and volunteered to walk him to the house. The driver agreed it was a good idea. I didn’t think much of this act; all I did was hold the dog as Noah went to the house. Later that week, my mother told me she ran into Noah’s grandmother at the store. She had elaborated how grateful she was that I walked Noah to the house, as he is petrified of dogs. My mother kissed me on the forehead and said she was so proud of me.

A month went by and I had forgotten about the event. We were at our church dinner and ran into Noah’s grandmother. She greeted me with a huge hug and praised me as if I had accomplished a magnificent deed. She then introduced me to her husband. “This is the angel that walked Noah to the house a few weeks ago.” He looked at me with appreciative eyes, and then it hit me. A kind deed, itself, takes only a minute of our lives, but the impact of that deed on others’ hearts, lasts forever. Thus, an act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever done in vain. This, I believe.