This past week was a tough one for me. I had a head cold which made my head feel like Barry Bonds must feel like after the steroid use overinflated his noggin. In addition, my son had some tests done that were stressful. Lastly, there was great frustration (usually just frustration) regarding work this week. So, by the time the end of the week rolled around, I was anxious for the weekend. However, there were some silver linings along the way.
Remember the movie Pay it Forward? The movie which was based on a novel came out in 2000. The premise of the movie was to do kind deeds for others as a way of paying back someone who did something kind for you. So, this way you are paying it forward with the hope that one kind deed will lead to more and make the world a happier place. A bit corny – maybe – but the basic premise of doing kind things for others without expecting something in return other than them doing something kind for a third person is cool. While the movie did only mediocre at the box office, the term seems to have lived on.
In fact, the term came to me when I heard a news story last month. Apparently people were paying off the layaway bills of strangers at Kmart stores in a number of states including Nebraska, Michigan, Iowa, Indiana, and Montana. The disc jockey who noted this story was cynical and thought it was suspicious that it was just Kmart and suspected it was some sort of promotion. Sad – some people can observe kindness and not even recognize it. Anyway, maybe those Secret Santas, as they called themselves, were just paying it forward.
The silver linings in an otherwise dreary week were both examples of kindness to a stranger. I’ve had multiple dealings with a connection through an acquaintance that I never see. This woman, who doesn’t know me from Adam, has gone out of her way to assist me in something that has no benefit to her. She emails back in minutes and apologizes for not doing more. I just hope my thank you came off sincerely enough and that I could help her or another in some way. Secondly, while powerwalking through Port Authority Friday morning, my briefcase somehow came open and my computer along with a bunch of papers fell out. As I stooped down to pick everything up, a man came by, offered assistance, provided it even though I said, “it’s okay,” and said, “happens to all of us, have a good weekend.” As he walked off – I didn’t even see his face – I was struck by how kind his act was and it made me want to do something nice for someone. I was inspired.
These two random acts of kindness helped save me from one of those weeks. Maybe those people were just paying it forward. Either way, maybe I should continue the kindness – it would be nice to be the highlight of someone else’s week and lift them up.