I am on the road once again. “Gypsy girl” they call me. Oh well, it gives me new perspectives. :)
I took the train to Chicago and then, after a layover, headed west. There was an older lady getting on at my stop. She had a huge suitcase, seemed almost as big as she was and she was struggling to get on the train. I made way for her to go in front of me thinking that if I was behind her I could shield her from passengers being pushy from behind. I asked if i could help her get her suitcase onto the train. She studied me for a minute, awkwardly declined and then muscled her case into the luggage rack and headed upstairs to sit down. I followed shortly afterward to find my own seat. We both unloaded in Chicago and I again motioned for her to climb out in front of me so that I could define the pace for the people behind her. This time she seemed very grateful for the spot in line and lack of pressure getting off. After getting off the train, she muscled that big ol’ suitcase all the way into the station and headed for a place in line to check her bag for the next leg of her trip. When she did so she stopped and notice me and said, “well I guess I should let you get in front of me this time.”
Isn’t it interesting how kindness is “catchy?” Yes, I think cruelty is too, but think about what you might be doing by being kind. What kind of an effect can you have on two, three people down the road? What if this lady decides to pay it forward by being patient with the ticket counter clerk? And what if the ticket counter clerk is kind to the baggage guy in response? And what if the baggage guy was super depressed and thinking about hurting himself? Can one act of kindness save another’s life? Does that seem a bit far fetched? Well… I remember a time when one act of kindness literally saved my life. Maybe, just maybe it’s worth the effort?
Times have changed. There is so much happening in our days that there isn’t sufficient time to process it all. Who can even remember what it is like not to be stressed? When was life carefree for you? Has it ever been care free? In the midst of that pressure, I think we have become a society that has forgotten how to “see” others and really care.
There are two sides to that. On the one side I just want to weep because of our cruelty to each other. On the other, kindness is so rare that it has a big impact on those who receive it. Try it, let me know what happens.