A Feeling…

Wes - San Luis Obispo, California
Entered on March 1, 2009
Age Group: 18 - 30
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“A Feeling…”

The prominent American rabbi, Harold Kushner once said, “When you carry out acts of kindness you get a wonderful feeling inside. It is as though something inside your body responds and says, yes, this is how I ought to feel.” I believe in small acts of kindness.

I was on the receiving end of a small act of kindness recently, an experience that made me realize how these acts can make one feel. A couple of weeks ago, I was working on an email marketing advertisement and when I did not understand how to HTML format an email, I wandered into the Computer Science Lab at Cal Poly searching for assistance. I went up to the first person that I saw and asked him if he could help me. He immediately stopped his homework and eagerly entertained my query. This guy, Matt, worked with me explaining in laymen terms how to format an email I had been struggling with for days. He spent an hour with me in the middle of his hectic day so I could finally finish what I had been working on for three weeks! A burden felt lifted from my shoulders.

Later that night, I looked back on my experience with Matt and realized what he did was extraordinary. He took time out of his busy schedule to help a person he had never met. I laid awake imagining how Matt must have felt at the end of his day: an act of kindness.

The next day, I sent Matt an email thanking him for his help and offered him dinner. Matt replied, “Hah, no need for the food. Just glad to help.”

He did not accept anything in return, he was satisfied with the fact he improved my life even by the smallest degree.

Matt inspired me to look for opportunities of small acts of kindness in my everyday life. Later that week, I met three homeless men while I was riding my bicycle in downtown San Luis Obispo. They asked me if I had any spare change and I said I did not as I am a struggling college student with just enough money to afford tuition. I kept conversing with these three men. They were extremely friendly and sincere in the way they spoke about life. I felt touched by their words. I decided to ride my bicycle to downtown every Wednesday and bring them a pizza and drinks for lunch.

For the past couple of months, I have brought a 16-inch pepperoni pizza to these men; the happiness it brings them is unexplainable. They exude an inordinate amount of appreciation for my act of kindness, and I get a better feeling inside than making the last shot at the buzzer to win a high school basketball game.

I don’t think about what Matt feels like anymore because now I have that same fantastic feeling that fills my entire body when I go out of my way even to the smallest degree to advance the lives of others.

My small acts of kindness improve the way I feel about myself and improve the lives of others. I believe in small acts of kindness because I feel the way I ought to feel.