Sunday, July 12, 2009

Kindness Gives me Hope

Friday morning I woke up a little too dreary and draggy and decided that I'd make it one of my "treat" days and grab a coffee at Starbucks. I'm not really a coffee drinker (unless there's a good amount of other flavors to cover the taste up) but I love the white chocolate mocha there.

I pulled into the drive thru and put in my order. I barely noticed that the lady in front of me was having a bit longer conversation with the barista than normal. She was probably just asking for a napkin or extra whip cream or something. When I pulled up to the window to hand the man my change (yes, I was paying with change cause sometimes it piles up and you need to lighten your purse) he made the following statement: "That lady that was in front of you? Her name is Leslie and she just paid for your coffee." I was shocked. All I could spit out was "What? Really? Wow." Profound, I know.

Of course I've never had anything quite like that happen to me before. But I was immediately wrapped in the thought of how it's the people like Leslie, who perform random acts of kindness for strangers, that really give me hope that the world isn't an entirely demoralized and bad place. That there are more people out there than I usually think that care about others at least as much as they care about themselves and sometimes just take a notion to make a perfect stranger smile.

Granted, I can't say that I've ever done such a thing as Leslie did for me that day, but I can say that I try to show my appreciation and kindness for others in the tiny, mundane things throughout the day. A door held open, thank you and please spoken to the person at the restaurant that takes my order, allowing people to pull into a lane of traffic during rush hour. All things that most folks don't really think twice about, but things that those that pay attention appreciate and reciprocate.

I've always enjoyed the stories of how just one smile at a perfect stranger you pass on the street can turn into a whole string of smiles going out to strangers who may have just really needed it right at that moment. Or the thought that if only one person sees you lend a hand to another, they'll be inspired enough to do one thing for someone else that day and so on and so forth. Hope is a powerful thing. And sometimes it's all you have to get through the day.

So thank you Leslie, whoever and wherever you are. Thank you for your kind gesture, for making me stop a moment to mull things over and put a few more ounces of myself into the part of my soul that holds hope for everything going on in life. I'll definitely not forget this.

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