A Random Act of Kindness – Happy Holidays!

George Washington Bridge, spanning the Hudson ...

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Happy Holidays! Yes, it is that time.  Parties, gatherings, family, friends, presents.  Lots of presents.  Selecting a more clever or unusual gift for the someone special has always been a fun “treasure hunt” for me.  My oldest son lives in Paris.  Trying to send him a tin of homemade cookies was a challenge, so I sent him a harmonica.  I am still waiting to hear from him.

Several years ago, I was driving across the GW Bridge.  I rolled forward to the toll attendant and reached across to deliver my $8.00 when the attendant said that the car in front of me had paid my toll.  He waved me through.  I was astonished and mystified how to thank the generosity of the driver in front of me.  As I continued driving into the City, I realized that I had received a random act of kindness

This realization gave me cause to reflect on other situations where strangers extended a dollop of kindness and just melted into the scenery not waiting for a look of gratitude or thanks.  Further thought flashed other scenes and situations where I had given an encouragement, lent a hand or just provided a “little” to a friend, stranger or family member. 


A couple of years ago, I sat with friends in a restaurant enjoying dinner.  One friend excused himself for the facilities.  Shortly, there after the table in the corner stirred and started to leave.  From the group, a young man in military dress approached our table and glanced around at each of us.  He said ‘I want to thank you for paying for our dinner.”  My friend who had excused himself earlier said no we thank you for your dedicated military service.  The young man volunteered that he had just returned from Iraq to spend the holidays with his family.  We all joined in and thanked him for his service and our freedom. 

On the other hand I had worked for an agency that received boxes of hams and turkeys for free distribution at the holidays to families in need.  One day I received a phone call and the voice at the other end requested a turkey and ham be shipped to her family in North Carolina for the holidays.  I was surprised by her request and asked how she was getting to North Carolina?  She said she was flying.  There was just something skewed with this request.  To me a random act of kindness is just that, an unexpected gift to someone that needs a hand. 

When to give?  How?  It is just a knowing.  Perhaps the situation mirrors a personal  “stick point” or “melt down” or realization that it was the right thing to do.  Providing a swath of comfort to someone else at that moment can be a gift not only to the recipient but also to yourself.  

Slipping a little something into someone else’s world,  I believe ripples out …someday, someway, somehow it comes back.    Have a happy and healthy holiday. 

~ by Lynn Brock on December 23, 2010.

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