Yesterday, something really cool happened to me… I was the delighted recipient of a total stranger’s random act of kindness.
I sat in grueling meetings all morning with my head practically exploding from the volume of information that was being thrown at me to process. Everything was going at a painfully fast pace and we were pushing well past a comfortable lunch time for me. When we finally hit a reasonable stopping point, I rushed out of the conference room to my car before anyone could delay me and drove to the nearest restaurant. I walked into an insanely crowded place, but since it was just me, I sat at the bar and quickly ordered my lunch.
And then I took a deeeeep breath… and another one… and another one.
The fog was finally starting to lift in my head as my food arrived. By the time I finished my meal, I felt like I could probably force myself back into that conference room for the remainder of the day. So I asked for my check…
And that’s when it happened.
The bartender smiled brightly at me and explained that my check had already been paid by the gentleman who had just left with his take-out order. I vaguely recall the man walking in, saying hello to everyone within earshot, picking up his order, paying, and walking out. I do not recall him saying “hey lady – pay attention – because I’m going to buy your lunch and I’d like you to know it and have the chance to say thank you now before I leave”.
I do not recall that because it didn’t happen. He quietly asked the bartender if I had paid my bill yet, when the bartender said no, the man said that he would like to pay it and did so discreetly and then left.
I was stunned…
I don’t know exactly why that man bought my lunch… but as I drove back to work, feeling uplifted and joyful for the first time all day, I wished I could tell him that he had absolutely made my day. It wasn’t that I couldn’t afford my own lunch – it had nothing to do with the money. It was just the happiness and relief of realizing that decency and kindness is not completely lost.
I was so happy about my experience that I posted about it on Facebook. Within minutes, so many people had responded with “yay” type comments . So then… I wished I could tell that man that he not only made my day, but he might have possibly made all these other people smile as well.
And then, math nerd that I am, I started running numbers on the explosion of goodness and how far-reaching it could be.
See, I think that no matter how stressed, frustrated, etc we all get… most of us would still love to make someone’s day. We just get caught up in our own heads and forget that simple things – like holding a door, letting someone into the flow of traffic, giving a compliment to a stranger, or yes, even buying a stressed-looking nerd-girl lunch – can have HUGE impact.
Have you been the delighted recipient of a random act of kindness? Have you thought about paying it forward? What would the world be like if we all committed one act of kindness a day? Or even a week? A month?