Have you ever experienced going to a grocery store and while checking out at the counter you realize that you are couple cents short? The person behind you smiles and says “I have it covered!”.
What about one time when you witness someone give his lunch to the homeless standing at the traffic signal?
These people do what they do without expecting anything in return. These unselfish acts of kindness are driven by basic human nature of goodness.
I am fortunate to have experienced these random acts of kindness, and I draw from these memoirs when I need inspiration to re-establish faith in humanity. With this post I want to honor these ordinary people with extra ordinary heart who act selflessly, and the only way to pay them back is to pay it forward.
Couple years ago, one afternoon I was driving back to my house in San Diego, California, and I saw that the car in front of me stopped suddenly even though the traffic light was green. I waited impatiently and saw a man got out of the stopped car. He signaled the traffic in other lanes to stop, and then I saw the most unusual and cute sight- a mother duck and her six tiny ducklings were crossing the road.
The man from the car escorted the ducks safely to the other side of the road and disappeared into the moving traffic. Life continued, but the incident made me reflect on what I would have done, had I been in his place? I would have surely swerved my car to avoid the feathered friends, but to take the initiative like the man in the car, is an act of courage and kindness that I found inspiring.
I experienced something similar this year, but this time the place was New Delhi, India and instead of the duck family it was me with my niece and kids. As it was a hot summer afternoon, I decided to take the three children for some frozen treats in the shopping mall nearby.
We took a wonderful cycle-rickshaw* ride from our house to the mall and enjoyed ice-creams. On our way back, we were to cross two streets to go back to the rickshaws. It was rush hour and there were no traffic lights or pedestrian crossings, so I had to cross the street at my own risk with kids holding my hands. Even after fifteen minutes in the scorching sun and multiple failed attempts to cross the road I found myself standing on the edge of the street. I looked around for some locals crossing the street so that I could stick with them and cross in unison, but I found no one. As I was contemplating on my next move, a skinny man appeared in front of me. He asked if I needed help in crossing the street. I nodded as hard as I could. He must have seen the sign on my forehead ‘Help me please!’ After getting my approval, the man walked to the middle of the street and signaled the oncoming traffic to stop. I was horrified to see the fast-moving traffic coming towards him.
There were cars, scooters and trucks; all honking and screaming but the man was able to stop the traffic. He then signaled me to cross the road. Like a important dignitary, my little convoy swished across the street as the frustrated crowd waited for the royalty to reach the other side. The man performed the same act of stopping the traffic on the other side of the street, and we crossed safely again. Voila! I took a deep breath as we reached our rickshaw ride. I thanked the stranger, and saw him walk carelessly and disappear into the dust of the moving traffic.
I had not called the man for help nor did the family of ducks crossing the road; and while there were so many passerby only one person identified the need of the situation and had the heart to take appropriate action. These acts of goodness, though small left an imprint on my soul.
Please share your thoughts and experiences where your life was touched by everyday kindness, and let these tiny ripples inspire many more.
*Cycle Rickshaw is a three wheeled cart pedaled by a person. It is also called ‘pedicab’. It is one of the many means of transport in India, generally used to travel short distances.
India Traffic Photo credit: Maanas Rai