I’ve always been of the belief that when we do something nice for someone, we benefit ourselves more than our act benefits the other person. When we see someone else performing an act of kindness for a stranger, it acts as a motivating force for us to do something nice for someone we don’t know.
We read about the man who was sitting in a restaurant having dinner when he overheard a conversation between mother and daughter. One of them had just been diagnosed with something dreadful and they were both crying. The man passed a note to the waiter saying, “Do me a favor and bring me their check, too. Someone just got diagnosed. Don’t tell them.” He told the waiter to wait until he left the restaurant before telling the women that their bill had been paid.
Shortly after that story went viral, there were all kinds of stories about other people paying for strangers’ meals. There were also stories of people paying for the groceries of the person in back of them at the supermarket checkout, or at the gas pump, or at the drive-through window of a fast food place. It inspired so many people to find ways to perform acts of kindness.
Many years ago, I was walking to my car when I saw a meter maid going from meter to meter and ticketing the cars with expired time. It just so happened that on that particular day, I was carrying a lot of loose change. I walked across the street in the opposite direction and started putting coins in all the parking meters that were nearing expiration or that had already expired.
The meter maid was too busy giving tickets to see me, but that night on the news was the story of a man being arrested for putting money into the parking meters of cars where the time had expired or were nearing expiration. It seems as though the police force couldn’t find enough people to ticket so they arrested this good Samaritan for performing random acts of kindness.
Too bad the contagion of kindness couldn’t extend to the money-grubbing policemen. After hearing that story, I had to find other ways to do things for people anonymously.