This I Believe

Heather O`Donnell - Lake Oswego, Oregon
Entered on December 31, 2007
Age Group: Under 18
  • Podcasts

    Sign up for our free, weekly podcast of featured essays. You can download recent episodes individually, or subscribe to automatically receive each podcast. Learn more.

  • FAQ

    Frequently asked questions about the This I Believe project, educational opportunities and more...

  • Top Essays USB Drive

    This USB drive contains 100 of the top This I Believe audio broadcasts of the last ten years, plus some favorites from Edward R. Murrow's radio series of the 1950s. It's perfect for personal or classroom use! Click here to learn more.

I believe all the little things add up. I feel that this statement is very important because it was only a few days ago that I realized that some people go around the world thinking that everything could be a threat to them, that everybody is out to get them.

I walk around the world assuming that everyone could be a new friend. Childish? Sure, but all things are much more interesting. The scary guy at the end of the bus stop doesn’t seem so creepy anymore. If you channel this, everybody’s kind energy, into everything that you say to a person, then everybody seems to be smiling wherever you go.

When was the last time you did something kind to someone that you’ve never met before? That’s what I thought. After you care about people for a long time you start to understand their emotions. One time my mom and I went to the grocery store, and came up to the check-out line, where a lady scanned our groceries. She looked tired, frustrated and little bit sad. Maybe the person before us had been mean to her; or she had been there since six a.m. Then I asked her how she was. She said the average, “fine”. I could tell that she didn’t think I really cared. I said back, “Must be really busy tonight, huh?” Her eyes lit up a little bit and she said, “Yes, it has been very busy and everyone is in such a hurry”. I smiled at her as she bagged the last of our groceries and a smile spread across her face as she replied, “goodbye”, I replied, “have a nice night”. Maybe what made so much of a difference to this lady was not that I asked her how she was, but that I actually cared and wanted to know. Now she was doing I think that she could tell that and so her answer was more honest than just, “fine”.

Now, in that lady’s mind do you think that she would be more likely to wish me a safe drive home, or someone who just completely ignored her, and was satisfied with, “fine”? If you take just a moment of your time to say something that could make them feel better, it can make all the difference to that person. And what you don’t realize then, but realize later, is that doing little actions of kindness like this makes all the difference to yourself, because it all adds up and comes back in the end.