Simple Kindness

Sharon - Jacksonville, Florida
Entered on February 19, 2008
Age Group: 30 - 50

I am writing this essay to talk about “random acts of kindness” in a world that often seems to be dominated more by “random acts of meanness and violence”.

One afternoon, my teenage daughter and I were walking out of a laundry mat and we noticed a man sitting up against the building. He looked to be quite old and seemed to be dozing. He obviously hadn’t had a shower in a very long time and he had holes in his shoes. It was late in the afternoon and we stopped to ask him if he was hungry. He looked up with weary eyes and said he hadn’t eaten that day. I asked him what he was hungry for and he said, “I’ve been hungry for chili.” I asked him if he would also like a sandwich and he said he didn’t want to be any trouble, but finally admitted that he would like a fish sandwich. He also said he would like chocolate milk to drink. I remember thinking we didn’t have much money but I didn’t care, we were going to get this man the meal he had been hungry for. We ended up having to go to three different restaurants before finding fish, chili and chocolate milk, but we managed and we felt good about what we were doing.

I wish everyone reading this could have seen how happy and grateful that man was when we returned with his food. Do you know that it took about 30 minutes and less than 10 dollars to provide the meal that he was craving, and it probably made us feel better than he did? We had decided that we would buy him dinner whenever we could but we never saw him again. I know my daughter will never forget the experience and hopefully, he won’t either. It is so simple to be kind and it brings such a good feeling, why is there so much meanness in our world today?

Often I will provide food (not money) to people who, it seems, are homeless and hungry. I try to make sure my children are involved and I know that they have learned to be more giving because of these experiences; I see them spending their own money to help others when they have extra cash on hand. Why not teach all of our children this?

How many people do you think read and listen to this “international public dialog”? Imagine if everyone reading this went out and obligated themselves to just one act of kindness for someone they don’t know. Imagine if everyone reading this began to practice “random acts of kindness” on a regular basis. Can you imagine?