Random Acts of Kindness

Lauryn - elgin, Illinois
Entered on November 18, 2008
Age Group: 18 - 30

Kindness and trust are vital to a productive society, or as Johann Wolfgang von Goethe flawlessly stated, “Kindness is the golden chain by which society is bound together”. It is obvious, though, that the world does not take the time to recognize the impact common courtesy has. More and more, individuals are skeptical of the good in people, questioning intentions and sincerity; we encounter these people every day, people such as close friends, family, or even strangers on the street. I believe that, fortunately, there is one characteristic that has the potential to drastically change the way people view the world, and that is kindness.

Examples of the powerful effect that a random act of kindness can have on others may be hard to notice, yet the result is there, visible or not. Imagine the feeling of having a completely “off” day, as the surrounding world never slows its pace, and people’s minds are conditioned to believe that ‘someone else will take care of it’, whatever “it” might be. Now imagine a peer showing compassion by stepping outside that fast paced world for a moment to become involved in more than himself. It does not always have to be a major act to show another that there is more to life than personal gain. I can still remember how it feels to be on the receiving end of one of these miracles. One morning in the beginning of my junior year in high school, I was turning a corner as I was rushing to class and by accident dropped a folder that was stuffed with papers. For a second I just stood staring at the scattered mess of papers, embarrassed by my clumsiness. But right as I began to gather them up, another student stopped to help me out. I did not know him, but still felt grateful for his assistance. Knowing that the school bell would ring at any time, I was amazed that he went out of his way to help.

The student’s gesture made my whole day better. The effect of a random act of kindness is just as cool on a national level. In Pompano Beach, Florida, one customer prepaid for the customer behind him, and other followed suit. People started calling it the “Starbucks Miracle.” Kind gestures feed off each other. I believe that once it starts, it should be kept going. When someone is touched by a random act of kindness, his or her demeanor turns to reflect the subtle pleasure of being uplifted by another’s graciousness.

Over time, random acts of kindness appear to have become more and more rare. It is now time to work them back into everyday life. Kindness has become such an unexpected act that it is highly appreciated when one occurs, whether that appreciation is withheld or told outright. Random acts of kindness demonstrate the hope of a better world and are what make life beautiful and enjoyable.