Why do people help perfect strangers? Have you ever given that much thought? As I was driving down a very busy street in Memphis recently, my gas cap was open; can’t imagine how that happened, but I passed thousands of cars and after being miles from the gas station, a middle-aged woman honked her horn at me and rolled her window down and said, “Your gas cap is open.” I thought how many people have seen this and just chose to ignore it and not get involved
Several months ago, I was leaving the grocery store and my arms were full, my mind preoccupied and I was not paying attention to anything. As I got to my car to begin the task of unloading, I dropped my purse. It was like “Let’s Make a Deal” in my purse! Stuff went everywhere. I started picking things up, looking under cars, and up walks this teenager who graciously started helping me. He was very reserved but obviously task oriented. What made this young man stop as others just walked by with a snicker on their face?
We live in a very busy world. The idea of helping a perfect stranger may just feel like one more thing we don’t have time to do. We live in an “it’s not our problem so let’s don’t get involved world.” Why did these people choose to help me and others had no interest? Was it their faith, their family, their upbringing, their desire to better their community? Or maybe they hoped that one day a stranger would help them? They knew they were not going to receive anything for their effort, but yet they made a decision to help someone else. We have all been on the receiving end of this kindness at one time or another. It leaves one with a restored feeling in mankind even from the smallest act of kindness.
The truth is that random acts of kindness or doing random deeds for strangers are like a toxin in the water supply system. It affects us all! Our city, state and this country would be so much better off if we all looked out for each other. Not only is helping someone out the right thing to do; doesn’t it just make sense? We could have such an impact if we helped the youngest child to the oldest senior citizen and everyone in between.
Many people, through no choice of their own, now need assistance. There are some of you reading this that may be within a stroke of a pen or the nod of a head from losing your job, having the rug jerked right out from under you. If this happens, will it make you be more empathetic toward others? Would you then be the one to help a stranger? Will you assist when someone has a flat tire or drops her keys? We can really make a big difference if we enroll in kindness class 101. Start small with a thank you and a smile. Work your way up to opening a door for someone and then really go over board and give a dollar to the person holding the sign at the red light that needs assistance. You know the drill; someone is in a bad situation and you step up and try to help. That is a choice, and I believe we are measured by the choices we make in life. Your choices make you the person that you are. Saying that you can’t make good choices is basically saying you don’t care to make good choices. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we acted like everything we did was going to make a difference?
Be a game changer. A situation or a life gone bad is made easier when there is a friendly face or someone there to hold a hand. We need to all be part of a caring community. Don’t think, “Oh I will leave that up to the teachers, pastors, counselors, coaches or family members to continue to do what’s right and I will just continue to think that nothing needs to be done in my neighborhood.” WRONG, invest in your community and jump into action the next time the elderly couple needs help finding their car or the mom needs help putting her stroller in the trunk. If we all decide to help the person we don’t know, we might just cause a revolution of kindness!
Photo credit to DeaPeaJay on flickr.
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