The Power of Human Kindness
“No kind action ever stops with itself. One kind action leads to another. Good example is followed. A single act of kindness throws out roots in all directions, and the roots spring up and make new trees. The greatest work that kindness does to others is that it makes them kind themselves.” Amelia Earhart.
Last year around Christmas I went to my local Starbucks to pick up coffee for my family while we were getting ready to go to my grandparents. My friend, who is a barista there, called me over and said “I have an amazing story to tell you.” He told me about how after a woman bought her coffee she handed him a five dollar bill. She told him to pass it on and pay for the customer behind her. The man behind her expressed his shock when the barista told him that his drink had already been purchased. Whether he knew what was going on or not, he also handed the barista a five dollar bill and told the barista to do the same for the customer behind him. This chain went on for about fifteen people. While someone eventually did not pass it on, the woman who started this, and the people who followed are an amazing example of the kindness people have. I believe in the good of human nature and that kindness is like a disease, spreading to others at contact. After hearing a story like that I find it impossible to believe the worst of people. Everyone has a little kindness in them; they just need someone to set the example first.
The occurrence at Starbucks isn’t as rare of an occasion as one might think. There are stories being told all over the place about someone going through a toll booth, and spending a few extra dollars to pay for the car behind them. However, human kindness isn’t always about spending money on a stranger. Simple acts, such as holding the door for the person behind you, or offering to help a neighbor bring in their groceries make a huge difference in the world. Kindness is contagious.
If human kindness didn’t exist we wouldn’t have the Mother Theresa’s and even the simple volunteers of the world. Mother Theresa did extraordinary things from rescuing trapped children, to feeding the hungry in Ethiopia but the day to day volunteers do just as much. The people who cook for the homeless every day, the teens who take their summers and spend them working camps for terminally ill children, even people who donate old clothing to the Salvation Army are spreading kindness every day. It doesn’t just stop with one person either. These people bring their friends, have them get involved and help bring kindness to everyone.
Like Amelia Earhart said “A single act of kindness throws out roots in all directions, and the roots spring up and make new trees.” Human kindness is contagious. One simple act can inspire others to do the same. Whether as simple as holding a door or like the woman in Starbucks who passed on the holiday spirit, kindness is everywhere.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.