This I Believe

Amber - Fort Atkinson, Iowa
Entered on May 15, 2006
Age Group: Under 18

I believe small acts of kindness make the biggest impact. While on a vacation in Mexico with my family, I learned this valuable lesson.

After living in the United States for my entire life I have learned to take for granted our culture and our wealth compared to other countries like Mexico. At my family’s hotel we were treated so well by the staff and were waited on continually. This type of service is unexpected in America, yet in Mexico everyone seems to work very hard.

Our room was on the eighth floor of our hotel. Every day we would use the elevator, and frequently there would be other guests or employees riding also. One afternoon I was riding alone to our room having come from the beach. The bell boy greeted me and pushed my floor number. I smiled and then rode in silence. The elevator stopped at the next floor, and an elderly maid stepped on with a large tied bundle of clean towels. I could tell she was struggling to carry the large load and was probably tired from working all morning. I hesitated to do anything to help as I felt it was not my place to interfere. The bell boy, also sensing her strenuous effort took the heavy bundle from her arms. The maid looked at the boy unexpectedly and smiled gratefully to his compassion. She wiggled her fingers and they began to speak Spanish in bright tones which I couldn’t understand, but I could tell by their expressions that the boy’s act of kindness had made her day. He could have ridden in silence like me. It wasn’t his job to help her, but he did anyway.

After exiting the elevator, guilt overcame me as I thought about what I should have done in the situation. Why didn’t I take the towels? The boy had no idea how his actions would affect all present and probably doesn’t even remember helping the woman in the elevator, but to me just witnessing his thoughtful deed made my day as well. This is why I believe small acts of kindness make the biggest impact.