Random Acts of Kindness

Rachel - Whitefish Bay, Wisconsin
Entered on May 23, 2008
Age Group: Under 18

I believe in random acts of kindness. Here at school, I see people who drop their books, and other people help pick them up… or others who hold doors for passersby. Of course, these are kind things to do, but really, I would consider them common courtesy. To me, kindness is noticing someone who is invisible, or comforting someone who is sad, even if they aren’t your friend. Or it could be just smiling at someone, because by doing those things, you can truly brighten a person’s day, or even change their life.

I only realized how important random acts of kindness were about three years ago. It was my first day of school in Italy, and I was so nervous that my teeth were chattering. All the students were on a large soccer field, waiting to go inside. Knees shaking uncontrollably, I found my fifth grade class in the sea of kids.

Now, supposedly, my school was an American school, and everyone spoke English. But, as I quickly found out from standing in line invisibly, English was not the language everyone chose to speak. All the kids in my class were chattering away in Italian, and all of them seemed to know each other already. Not only was I virtually invisible, but I couldn’t understand what anyone was saying, and that made me want to cry. I tried to push down the lump in my throat, and I tried to tell myself to stop being a sissy, but none of that worked and I did indeed start to cry. Of course, this was completely embarrassing, so I ran off the soccer field, and to my parents. My mom took me to the bathroom so I could wash my face and blow my nose, saying comforting words. After a few minutes, a teacher came in and took me to the gym.

My class was seated in a group, listening to the gym teacher give instructions on how to play a game. This time everyone turned around and stared at me, and I wasn’t sure what to do or where I should sit. That’s when an Asian girl I hadn’t seen in line before smiled at me and patted the floor next to her. I smiled back with relief and sat down. She introduced herself as Michi. It turned out that she had moved from Japan the year before, and didn’t have many friends either. After a few weeks, we were inseparable. It was very hard when I had to come back home and leave Michi and all my other new friends, but to this day, Michi and I email each other as often as possible.

Thanks to that one random act of kindness, an invitation to sit by her, I became best friends with someone and had one of the best school years I’ve ever had. Random acts of kindness can truly change someone’s life, even if at first you don’t think that they can do much. This I believe.