In the past 24 hours I have witnessed three random acts of kindness, having been the direct recipient of two. The first occurred yesterday. As many of you know I have begun working toward my PhD. One of the key lessons I am learning is that, as a practitioner I may intuitively know what’s “broken”, however, being able to define that issue in a way that is able to be researched is a skill acquired with practice. A classmate of mine, sensing my struggle, offered to take a few minutes to walk with me and help me refine my thinking.
The second took place on the Red Line this morning. Upon my entering the subway car a gentleman signaled me asking if I wanted his seat. Other seats were available, and so we were both able to sit during the commute. As we neared my stop, I approached the gentleman and thanked him for his kind offer. We had a brief, but interesting, conversation about how it takes the same amount of energy to be nice as it does to be rude; and yet there seem to be more acts of rudeness than kindness these days.
The final act happened on the shuttle bus to the University. Just as we were approaching the stop, one of the passengers bag emptied on the floor of the bus. While many people walked over her things, one fellow passenger stopped to help her gather her belongings.
While each of these were small and simple gestures, I would like to believe that they had a positive impact not only on the individuals engaged in the act (the giver and the receiver), but also on those who bore witness to them. Finally, as I reflect on the conversation with the gentleman from the train, I’m reminded of the closing of an earlier blog I’d written, “It is said that we give life to something simply by paying attention to it. I would offer that we refocus our attention on civility – both our own and that of those around us. My hope is that it will be easy for us to begin to identify these actions, and that with a bit of practice, we’ll start noticing them everywhere.” I’m glad to see that my practice is beginning to pay off!