A few days ago, I went to a local store in search of toilet paper thanks to the coronavirus epidemic. I found what I needed and stood in a long line to checkout. A lady who had about 25 items stood in front of me. I had two items. She turned around and said she would allow me to get in front of her since I only had two things. I refused, but when she insisted, I decided to take her up on her offer.
While it is not my intention, I must inject the obvious racial and cultural differences between myself and this lady. I am a middle-aged black man. She was an older Asian woman. Honestly, I don’t think two people could be more different. I guess that’s how it was supposed to be. How did we end up in the same lane at the same time? A five second deviation by either one of us would have prevents us from meeting in that line.
Remember, we were amid panic buying in an overcrowded store during a pandemic. In this backdrop, a stranger did something nice for me: she let me move ahead of her in a grocery line. I bought my two items, and then I really looked at this lady. She was somewhat weak, due to her age. She was alone, and she looked tense. The strain of the coronavirus outbreak has people upset.
Something strange came over me. I felt the need to reciprocate for the act of kindness she gave to me. I saw that she had a case of water. I told the cashier to ring it up and I would pay for it. I told the lady I was about to pay for her water. She smiled and thanked me. She moved forward to make contact, but probably realized we were warned about keeping a safe social distance. She waved happily. I waved back and took my items and left.
It was then that I realized it. Two complete strangers, both in the same place at the same time, shared two acts of kindness neither person asked for. For me it was therapeutic. After all, we were in the midst of the coronavirus scare. At a time when we see so many people going for themselves to protect themselves, this dear woman and I did the opposite. We helped each other.
The world needs kindness… NOW! Not because of the pandemic we are currently facing. We need kindness because we, regardless of our race, culture, or status, are in the same boat every day. We are one. It should not take a time of crisis to figure this out. We should live it every day. We should help each other. We should support each other. We should love each other.
I sincerely hope the woman in the store remains healthy and unaffected by the virus. I hope that she felt the same level of joy when I purchased her water that I felt when she let me move ahead of her in line. It was touching. It was inspiring. It was beautiful. It proved that the smallest actions could make a big difference. If we all put this into practice daily, what a better world we could create. Let’s go…
I am challenging you to serve. I am challenging you to offer help. I am challenging you to encourage others. It starts with you. It starts with me. It starts with us. The world needs kindness… NOW!
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