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Monday, December 31, 2012

Random Acts of Kindness

We think too much and feel too little. More than machinery, we need humanity. More than cleverness, we need kindness and gentleness.
Charlie Chaplin (1889-1977)
Comedic Actor, Filmmaker, Writer
A couple of years ago I started doing "pay it forward" acts.  I kept trying to leave money for the coffee of the next person in line but the clerks were reluctant to do it.  It became a very unpleasant act when the clerk at the drive thru window at Dunkin Donuts refused to take the money and threw it out the window.  I gave it up because it was too frustrating trying to explain what I was attempting to do and any good was flushed down the toilet when I felt like throttling the clerks.
Now I think it is a good time to focus on random acts of kindness.  The term is defined in Wikipedia as follows:
"A random act of kindness is a selfless act performed by a person or people wishing to either assist or cheer up an individual person or people."

There are a number of websites devoted to the subject and give ideas of the kind of acts that could be performed.  That is all well and good but I think it negates the concept of "random".  I do not want to set out on a goal of doing something on purpose.  I want to make myself aware that there are opportunities for spontaneous action. 

For example, there was a short news note about a man in a grocery checkout line who jumped in front of a couple and swiped his credit card to pay for their groceries because he saw that they didn't have enough to pay.  He then walked away.  What a guy!  I'll bet he wasn't planning on doing anything like that but took advantage of the opportunity for a random act of kindness.

I believe that performing an act, not for recognition but because it felt right. will change someone’s life in a small way. This is really paying it forward. What’s better than that?

Today.... keep it simple and make it real.

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