Random Acts of Kindness

Have you ever had someone do a nice thing for you anonymously?” If so, didn’t it make you feel good? Very likely it made two people feel good, you and the doer.

A friend of mine and I were having breakfast in a small restaurant in Colorado. We were seated at a table for two about a foot from another table for two. As we were being seated, we spoke to the elderly modestly dressed couple at the table next to us.

We had our usual prayer and began eating. I started to speak to them several times, but knowing Midwesterners are a bit reserved, I didn’t, for fear it might be disruptive for them. They checked out a bit before us and left without further exchange. When I went to check out the cashier said, “Your tab has been paid by the couple at the table by you.” We had never seen them before and likely will never see them again, but we will be eternally grateful to them. Not just for the meal, but for their grace and thoughtfulness.

The couple had a spirit of generosity and we were blessed to be the objects of it that morning. It has continued to be a bright spot in my memory inventory. I know that made four people happy, the two of us and the two of them.

Doing an act of kindness is gratifying, but there’s an added layer of satisfaction that comes with doing it anonymously.

In the grocery store recently my wife noticed the lady in front of her had lovely red roses. As the lady checked out she turned and handed them to my wife saying, “I want you to have a happy day.” My wife asked, “Do I know you?” She said, “No, I just want you to have a happy day,” and walked out. In an otherwise trying day, that was an oasis of elation,

That was obviously the nature of the lady. She walked in that store intent on giving some unknown person a lift, and it worked – – – for two people.

A spirit of kindness has been virtually eroded in our culture by an encroaching introverted public atmosphere and selfishness. How long has it been since you shared even a simple warm greeting to an unknown? What public kindness have you shown whether verbally or physically? It doesn’t cost much to be kind and you never know what a burden the object of your grace may be carrying. You might lift their load even for a moment.

The Roman stoic philosopher Seneca said, “The reward for all the virtues lies in the virtues themselves, for they are not practiced with a view to recompense; the wage of a good deed is to have done it.”

Research even suggests that altruism can improve your attitude and make you healthier, happier, and less stressed – otherwise known as the “helper’s high.”

Don’t defer in doing anonymous deeds. You can never tell what the downstream result might be. We all need a little positive reinforcement. Any act of kindness is better than doing nothing. Doing even a little one is better than doing nothing, and can lift a heavy load. Doing it anonymously is even better.

For a person of faith doing it in the name of Jesus makes it even more gratifying.