Sharing kindness

I was driving through the city today while doing errands. The part of the city I was driving through has been under construction for the past few years… and with growth, development and infrastructure upgrades, will be under construction for probably the next ten years. No joke.

Traffic moves pretty slowly there, and there’s usually a different lane closed each day. I was stopped at a red light and saw a guy walking down the lane of cars holding his cardboard sign with a handwritten note asking for change. I don’t generally have change on me, but I keep a stash of granola bars in the glove compartment for when my blood sugar gets low and for situations like this.

He approached, and I rolled down my window and beckoned him over. His eyes lit up when he saw the food in my hand, and we chatted briefly. Gratitude exuded from his eyes as he thanked me for the Clif Bar. I wished him a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays; he commented that in the past two hours, I was the first person who had made eye contact and smiled at him.

It’s the holiday season, Christmas in western countries, and while we frequently hear of giving and sharing and the holiday spirit, his comment startled me. There are things going on in all of our lives, and holiday stressors seem to be creeping more and more beyond the holiday season. Was his observation that no one had smiled in the past two hours reflective of a greater disconnect in society?

One of the simplest things we can do on a daily basis is to share kindness. Sometimes it’s in the form of donating money, time or food to someone; other times it can be as simple as a smile, a hug or a listening ear. The world and all sentient beings can use more kindness- perhaps a smile to someone looking downbeat, a polite hello to a cashier tired from the holiday rush, or giving your seat to someone else on a crowded bus can change their day in ways beyond what you can imagine.

Some of the biggest impacts can be made with simple actions that are easy to overlook. Can you share kindness today?


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