Random Acts of Kindness and Paying It Forward
by Floriana Hall
Here is a story which is nonfiction and inspirational for helping others. Kindness to others is important for healing everyone. A TIME FOR CARING
As I gaze out the living room window in early morning on the day after the Ides of March, I cannot help but marvel at the accumulation of six inches of snow.
Why, just five days ago, it was a sunny 72 degree day in our hometown but today it once again has become a winter wonderland. However, March in Ohio does seem to bring on the unexpected.
Amid all of the hardships that winter and life can bring, there are always good things happening, too, such as random acts of kindness. For instance, on March 5, the aforementioned warm sunny day, there seemed to be a spiritual magic in
the air causing people to care about others.
Jobs are scarce in our state and the economy in Ohio is one of the worst in the nation. Yet every day, good will is abundant in our neck of the woods. We live in a community that contributes money to help people who are ill or in dire straits. Churches and other charitable organizations help the poor or homeless with free meals and the necessities of life.
Another form of kindness was evident to me personally on March 5, 2004.
Something occurred on that day that had never before happened in my seventy-six years. My close friend, Lily, and I were celebrating her seventy-eighth birthday.
Lily had an Entertainment book coupon for a restaurant in a nearby suburb. It was very windy although the sun was shining brightly. A great day to celebrate by going to lunch and walking around Lake Anna in Barberton afterwards. I had given Lily a gift of a basket of lotions that day as I entered her car.
After arriving at the restaurant, we sat down at a table by the window and enjoyed the sunshine pouring in like a warm blanket of cheer while discussing what we could order with the coupon. I ordered a grilled cheese sandwich and a small salad, and Lily ordered soup and a roast beef sandwich, along with iced tea to drink.
Lily suddenly remembered that she had left her car door unlocked, so decided to go back outside to lock it because she had left my birthday gift to her in the back seat. As she passed by the window, I could see her scarf blowing and trees swaying in the breeze.
The tables were close together, but we scarcely noticed the gentleman sitting alone at the next table. However, he must have heard our conversation about her birthday and the discount coupon. We are both hard of hearing and speak in a semi-loud tone so that we can hear one another.
After the man had finished his lunch and left, our pretty young waitress came over to tell me that we did not have to pay for the lunch because the gentleman across from us had already paid for it. I actually was planning to pay for both of our lunches to surprise Lily on her birthday.
When Lily returned from locking her car and retrieving her scarf, I told her that the man at the table across from us, a stranger, had paid for our lunch, and she was astonished, but was as delighted as I was. This was the first time anything like this had ever happened to either one of us. Later, we talked to the waitress and asked her to thank him for us the next time he ate there, since she informed us that he was a frequent diner there. This random act of kindness really made our day!
Coincidentally, that very same day, after arriving home, I noticed an article in our local newspaper about a man giving up his seat on the blimp on February 29, leap year, to a young girl who was unable to get her free ride that day because of so many leap year birthdays. Only five people are allowed in the blimp at a time, so not everyone had time to take the flight.
You see, Goodyear was offering free blimp rides to people born on February 29, because their actual birthdays are celebrated once every four years. Blimp rides are not really easy to come by. Even people who worked for years at the aerospace company cannot seem to get a ride on the blimp, and every day is not favorable for takeoff.
I myself had always dreamed of riding on the blimp, and had even written a poem about it. Surprisingly, several years ago, I actually won a free ride for my husband and me, which was first prize at a benefit luncheon and style show for
the Salvation Army. We enjoyed the experience thoroughly, except it was a little
dizzying as it swayed in the wind while we entered and exited, and felt like a
roller coaster going up and down as the pilot pulled the stick backward and forward.
Several days after the story about the blimp was published, the same reporter wrote another article about many more random acts of kindness that occurred from February 29 to March 10. Perhaps this was a special time of year in which mankind cared and shared with one another. There were upcoming benefits for cancer patients and fire victims.
Sometimes just complimenting someone on a job well done, or how they look or act is another form of promoting good will and happiness. We can make every day better for ourselves and others by benevolence.
Would that this caring be the case all over the world every day of the year! As for Lily and me, we plan very soon to pay it forward and surprise some unsuspecting stranger with a similar act of kindness. To help others will be even more rewarding than receiving the free lunch.