Christmas is almost upon us, and I wanted to share an experience I had that was directly related to spreading kindness and how it can spread infectiously.
I've had a Spread Kindness calendar on my refrigerator since December 1st. I put these things up as a reminder to myself and my children that the world is so much bigger than each of us individually, and yet even the smallest thing, whether that be showing gratitude or buying someone a cup of coffee can be incredibly impactful.
My daughter especially is intrigued by these daily reminders to do good, and I love sharing this with her. On Saturday, we were at Target, so that my daughter could buy her brother a gift for Christmas. We do this annually, where they get to pick out a gift under a certain price and then help pay for it with their own money as a present for their sibling. I am trying to cultivate the spirit of giving young, what can I say.
Anyhow... while we were waiting in the incredibly long line, a little boy of about 11 years old was in line in front of us. The cashier asked if he 'belonged to me' jokingly, but I told her he wasn't. When she finished ringing up his purchase, which appeared to be a present for someone, he didn't have enough money to buy it. He must not have calculated for tax and so I asked the cashier how much he owed and forked over the two dollars he needed to complete his purchase. I didn't think twice about it - just handed it over, and the boy and cashier both thanked me and they went on their merry way.
As I was leaving, I saw an employee who looked like she was just arriving for her shift and appeared to be almost in tears. I pushed my cart up near her and asked her if she was okay? She mumbled, "yes," but proceeded to burst out crying. My daughter was looking at us both and wondering what was going on?
I asked the teen if there was anything I could do for her and as she wiped her tears, still crying uncontrollably, she said "no." I then simply asked if I could give her a hug. She nodded and clung to me as if she hasn't had a hug in quite some time. I kept murmuring kind words asking her what was wrong. She said that she no longer wanted to be here and that some people in her life were telling her to "go kill herself." My heart absolutely broke into a million pieces.
Mind you, the hustle and bustle of the store is still carrying on around us, as I'm hugging this poor girl and we're blocking the door to the employee entrance. I kept reminding her of how special she was, what a beautiful spirit she was and that life would get better after high school. After a few moments of consoling her, she had calmed down enough and said she would be okay. I handed her my business card and said to text me if she ever needed to hear a kind word or just someone to listen to her. She took it and walked away into the employee entrance.
My daughter just stood there gazing up at me, asking me what was wrong with the girl. I explained some of the situation to her, and said, "you know our kindness calendar? What we just did there probably amounted to a whole week of kindness." I tried to explain about compassion and how if we'd been in a hurry, I may not have noticed the girl and walked right by.
At the end of the day, what happened was still fresh in my mind and I wondered, what else could I do? I felt so much empathy for this teenager, having to deal with bullies and the whole host of other things kids have to deal with in this social media age. How could I help more?
As I meditated on it, the thought came to me that my acts of kindness at the store would be reverberated to others who had witnessed it. To the boy who I gave two dollars to, would remember it at some point in the future perhaps when someone else needed something. To the people walking by us at Target wondering why this lady was hugging a sobbing teenager, and the other employees who walked around us as we quietly chatted. Those people, even just one, I hope witnessed kindness and will spread it to the next person they see.
This world is in need of hope, kindness and empathy - especially at this time of year when many people dread the holidays for one reason or another. Pause, take time out to talk to the people you meet, offer assistance to the person who can't lift the tree on top of their car, or groceries. Be kind to one another, because it truly spreads like a pebble in a pond.
I wish all of my readers a very merry Christmas and a blessed 2019.
If you're still looking for a gift, I'm extending my sale through the end of the year. Check out my blog to find out more.
And remember, if you ever need assistance in your life, I am here to help.