Last night I was the recipient of a random act of kindness while shopping at Trader Joe’s. I love Trader Joe’s because the employees there tend to be very friendly, and they actually engage in conversation with the customers. This makes the task of grocery shopping much more pleasant, and it makes you feel like you’re connected to humanity. The friendly vibe from the employees ripples out to the customers and kind of wakes them up from their sleep-walking and gets them out of the protective bubbles that often come along with living in large, crowded places.
So I was standing in line, and the guy in front of me offered to let me set my milk down on the counter with his groceries so I wouldn’t have to hold it the whole time. Then we started chit-chatting, and while we weren’t paying attention the cashier rang up my milk with his groceries. I said, “Oh, I’m sorry — that was my milk.” The guy said, “You know what? I’ll buy your milk.” I protested, and he said, “I’m paying it forward. Have a nice day!”
Wow! It’s amazing how such a small thing can brighten up a person’s day. And brighten is a great word, because at that moment it felt like a bright light was turned on. Not only was I lit up, but the guy was lit up, and the cashier was lit up — it made her already-happy self even extra happy! And it kept rippling. I was stuck in traffic all the way home. That often makes me feel tired, but the little kindness renewed my energy, so I thought about that nice guy and sent some prayers his way and hoped that he had a good and happy life. Then I got home and told my husband about it, and it made him happy too.
We human beings thrive on connection with each other. The emotions and state of mind of the people around us affect us. Your emotions and state of mind affect the people around you. Just like dropping a stone into a pond, your energy ripples out much farther than your body, touching everyone in it’s path. So what are you putting out there? Think about it as you go through the day. Pay it forward. Even a simple smile can brighten up someone’s day and make them more likely to pass it on.
If you’ve given or received a random act of kindness, I’d love to hear about it. You can share it with us here or on my Facebook page.