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Moments of Generosity and Kindness

 

She quickly made her way to our table at Denny’s, pencil and pad in hand, a wide smile and a chipper energy. Can I get you some coffee? And then after getting the hot coffee, are you ready to order? When we weren’t, she said, take your time. And she really meant it. Breakfast was delicious. The waitress’ smile and sweetness throughout our breakfast, and her attentiveness, were the icing on the cake—or on the pancakes.

Then at Walmart, I was stuck in one of those endless lines. Fortunately I didn’t have many items. The man in front of me kept glancing back at me, his cart fairly full. Suddenly he turned around and said, you should go ahead, you don’t have that many items. I said, but I do, they’re just piled in this little section here, pointing to the place where children often sit. No, no you go ahead. It’s okay. So I did. As I was leaving, I looked back to thank him, and realized he’d let another women ahead of him.

At the gas station, two cars were parked next to each other. One was about to leave and the passenger of the other car couldn’t squeeze in to enter her side. The other car’s driver (he must have been waiting for someone in the market) started to back up so the woman, soda drink in hand, could get in the other car. The soda drink woman protested, no, no, it’s okay, my guy will back up, really it’s okay. Slowly the other car drove forward while her car backed up to let her enter her side. I caught her eye and smiled. She smiled back.

After days and months of rants and raves about the state of this country and the world, a little generosity and kindness go a long way.

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There are 34 comments.

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  1. Thatcher

    If all of us aimed to make the world a better place, all the time, imagine what it would be like. 

    A good reminder, Susan, to aim for the greatest possible good.

    • #1
    • May 15, 2018 at 8:45 am
    • 7 likes
  2. Member

    What I wish I could ‘teach the world’ is that when you are gracious and polite to others, you get a blessing that is far more fulfilling than whatever momentary advantage rudeness or plain unawareness of others gives you.

    Be polite and gracious for its own sake, but in the long run, you will be better for it.

    Let me add, that includes when driving in traffic. I often notice that people who would never consider cutting in line or acting aggressively towards others in person routinely do so when driving. It is easier to be rude to a car than to another person, I guess. But there is a person behind that vehicle!

    • #2
    • May 15, 2018 at 8:54 am
    • 4 likes
  3. Contributor
    Susan Quinn Post author

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):
    A good reminder, Susan, to aim for the greatest possible good.

    I wish I’d said that! Thanks, @bryangstephens. It is so easy to get dragged down in the darkness. We can help each other to remember the light.

    • #3
    • May 15, 2018 at 8:58 am
    • 2 likes
  4. Contributor
    Susan Quinn Post author

    PHenry (View Comment):

    What I wish I could ‘teach the world’ is that when you are gracious and polite to others, you get a blessing that is far more fulfilling than whatever momentary advantage rudeness or plain unawareness of others gives you.

    Be polite and gracious for its own sake, but in the long run, you will be better for it.

    Let me add, that includes when driving in traffic. I often notice that people who would never consider cutting in line or acting aggressively towards others in person routinely do so when driving. It is easier to be rude to a car than to another person, I guess. But there is a person behind that vehicle!

    So true! I think people think they’re at war with another car! I do notice in Florida, though, that when people are crossing from the parking area to the store, or the reverse, cars almost always stop. If it were California (or maybe even Boston), we’d be considered targets! Thanks @phenry.

    • #4
    • May 15, 2018 at 9:00 am
    • 2 likes
  5. Thatcher

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):
    A good reminder, Susan, to aim for the greatest possible good.

    I wish I’d said that! Thanks, @bryangstephens. It is so easy to get dragged down in the darkness. We can help each other to remember the light.

    Well, I have been watching a lot of Dr. Peterson.

    • #5
    • May 15, 2018 at 9:03 am
    • 6 likes
  6. Thatcher

    OK got the link to the vid to show up above. 

    • #6
    • May 15, 2018 at 9:19 am
    • 3 likes
  7. Member

    PHenry (View Comment):
    It is easier to be rude to a car than to another person, I guess.

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):
    I think people think they’re at war with another car!

    In the audiobook I just listened to, Traffic, by Tom Vanderbilt, he talked about how, when we’re in our cars, we’re playing out a little drama in our heads and that’s what makes us act (literally!) differently. 

    • #7
    • May 15, 2018 at 9:30 am
    • 3 likes
  8. Contributor
    Susan Quinn Post author

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):

    OK got the link to the vid to show up above.

    He’s so masterful, isn’t he, and so clear. Thanks for posting it, Bryan.

    • #8
    • May 15, 2018 at 10:01 am
    • 2 likes
  9. Member

    There are good people everywhere.

    I used to ride my bike from the middle of the Cape to the tip in Provincetown on the rail trail. I did this often. I’d come home in the best mood–every time I got to a street crossing, the cars would immediately stop and let me go. They didn’t have to do that. The rail trail crosses very deserted roads. In fact, it was really funny. There would be one car and one bike rider: me. The drivers always stopped. By the time I got to Provincetown, I’d be smiling every time. :-)

    • #9
    • May 15, 2018 at 10:26 am
    • 4 likes
  10. Contributor
    Susan Quinn Post author

    MarciN (View Comment):
    There would be one car and one bike rider: me. The drivers always stopped. By the time I got to Provincetown, I’d be smiling every time. :-)

    I think I know what you’re describing. On my morning walks, I see my “usuals” and we say ‘mornin’ and smile. Drivers get my hand wave and often wave back. It starts the day off right. Thanks, @marcin.

    • #10
    • May 15, 2018 at 10:51 am
    • 3 likes
  11. Thatcher

    Susan Quinn: After days and months of rants and raves about the state of this country and the world, a little generosity and kindness go a long way.

    These small acts of kindless do go a long way. I’m not a Buddhist or believe in Hinduism, but the concept of karma seems to fit in with my belief in Christianity. Why wouldn’t God have a “balance” sheet for each individual? Even if a person lives his life without ever helping another human being, if he causes little or not harm (and does so unintentionally), and follows our secular rules, why shouldn’t he be granted a room in Heaven?

    I’m not a trained theologian, just a guy with a gut feeling – and trust me, I have a large gut to feel with. It’s like a giant antenna. Never mind . . .

    • #11
    • May 15, 2018 at 10:55 am
    • 7 likes
  12. Coolidge

    We live in Seacoast NH and I can’t tell you how many times something like this happens – in Walmart, HomeGoods, Home Depot, the local apple orchard farm market and so on. And I don’t think it’s unique to NH: people like being smiled and and having thank you or After you, I’m in no hurry said to them. It’s hard not to smile right back. Yes, it can change the tenor of the whole day. Thanks for the reminder @susanquinn.

    • #12
    • May 15, 2018 at 10:57 am
    • 3 likes
  13. Contributor
    Susan Quinn Post author

    Stad (View Comment):

    Susan Quinn: After days and months of rants and raves about the state of this country and the world, a little generosity and kindness go a long way.

    These small acts of kindless do go a long way. I’m not a Buddhist or believe in Hinduism, but the concept of karma seems to fit in my belief of Christianity. Why wouldn’t God have a “balance” sheet for each individual? Even if a person lives his life without ever helping another human being, if he causes little or not harm (and does so unintentionally), and follows our secular rules, why shouldn’t he be granted a room in Heaven?

    I’m not a trained theologian, just a guy with a gut feeling – and trust me, I have a large gut to feel with. It’s like a giant antenna. Never mind . . .

    You are funny and cute, @stad. I’m sure you can trust your gut . . .

    • #13
    • May 15, 2018 at 11:08 am
    • 2 likes
  14. Contributor
    Susan Quinn Post author

    EODmom (View Comment):
    Yes, it can change the tenor of the whole day. Thanks for the reminder @susanquinn.

    I think we can walk around pre-occupied and miss these opportunities to brighten the day of others or to appreciate what they offer us. So being awake and paying attention can make a whole lot of difference. Thanks, @eodmom.

    • #14
    • May 15, 2018 at 11:10 am
    • 1 like
  15. Thatcher

    EODmom (View Comment):
    We live in Seacoast NH and I can’t tell you how many times something like this happens – in Walmart, HomeGoods, Home Depot, the local apple orchard farm market and so on.

    Unless you’re Michelle Obama, who used the story of her helping a short person in a WalMart (or some such store) reach an item on a high shelf as a basis for a comment about racism in America. Does anyone else remember this? Michelle O. used to tell the same story in amusement, about when she would go out in public, help people (positive karma!), and not be recognized.

    • #15
    • May 15, 2018 at 11:40 am
    • 2 likes
  16. Thatcher

    Stad (View Comment):

    Susan Quinn: After days and months of rants and raves about the state of this country and the world, a little generosity and kindness go a long way.

    These small acts of kindless do go a long way. I’m not a Buddhist or believe in Hinduism, but the concept of karma seems to fit in with my belief in Christianity. Why wouldn’t God have a “balance” sheet for each individual? Even if a person lives his life without ever helping another human being, if he causes little or not harm (and does so unintentionally), and follows our secular rules, why shouldn’t he be granted a room in Heaven?

    I’m not a trained theologian, just a guy with a gut feeling – and trust me, I have a large gut to feel with. It’s like a giant antenna. Never mind . . .

    Aiming for the highest good reduces suffering in the world. It enriches our own lives as much as it enriches others, maybe more. Humans are built to like to help others (in general). 

    As a Christian, I won’t speak for God’s rules. Job tells me why. 

    • #16
    • May 15, 2018 at 2:12 pm
    • 2 likes
  17. Coolidge
    TBA

    It costs so little, but probably promotes health and longevity. 

    • #17
    • May 15, 2018 at 3:01 pm
    • 3 likes
  18. Member

    Every time I ask a woman to go ahead of me in line, she calls security. 

    • #18
    • May 15, 2018 at 4:17 pm
    • 5 likes
  19. Contributor
    Susan Quinn Post author

    Basil Fawlty (View Comment):

    Every time I ask a woman to go ahead of me in line, she calls security.

    @basilfawlty, you just have the worst luck!

    • #19
    • May 15, 2018 at 4:27 pm
    • 1 like
  20. Member

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    Basil Fawlty (View Comment):

    Every time I ask a woman to go ahead of me in line, she calls security.

    @basilfawlty, you just have the worst luck!

    I know. I hate dealing with security.

    • #20
    • May 15, 2018 at 4:42 pm
    • 4 likes
  21. Member

    PHenry (View Comment):

    What I wish I could ‘teach the world’ is that when you are gracious and polite to others, you get a blessing that is far more fulfilling than whatever momentary advantage rudeness or plain unawareness of others gives you.

    Be polite and gracious for its own sake, but in the long run, you will be better for it.

    Let me add, that includes when driving in traffic. I often notice that people who would never consider cutting in line or acting aggressively towards others in person routinely do so when driving. It is easier to be rude to a car than to another person, I guess. But there is a person behind that vehicle!

    Catching their eye is the trick. 

    • #21
    • May 15, 2018 at 11:18 pm
    • 4 likes
  22. Member

    My goal in life is always to be someone’s “story”. When I started my business 20+ years ago I had noticed that people told stories of horrible customer service. But more often they told the story of someone who went above and beyond. So when I answer every call, I want to be that story, as in: can you believe it? She had the part and drove it to FedEx so I would get it the next day.

    (As an aside, my worst story of a customer is someone I did that for late on a Friday and managed a Saturday delivery. She emailed me a week later to let me know she had found the item cheaper elsewhere online and would I refund her the difference??)

    That would be a No. A hell no.

    As I get older the rudeness of others has diminished in my memory. But I will never forget the guy at Trader Joe’s who snatched my toddler from a case of broken wine bottles and escorted pregnant me through the check out and to my car. And the mysterious woman who appeared one awful Friday and told me I had the most beautiful family.The man who held my barfing baby in the mall while I collected a few toddlers. The guy with a mohawk who held the door open for me when I was struggling with a stroller. The guy who sat with my son until he came to after he wiped out on his bike.

    Everyone has a story. Be the hero of someone’s.

    • #22
    • May 15, 2018 at 11:36 pm
    • 8 likes
  23. Thatcher

    Annefy (View Comment):

    PHenry (View Comment):

    What I wish I could ‘teach the world’ is that when you are gracious and polite to others, you get a blessing that is far more fulfilling than whatever momentary advantage rudeness or plain unawareness of others gives you.

    Be polite and gracious for its own sake, but in the long run, you will be better for it.

    Let me add, that includes when driving in traffic. I often notice that people who would never consider cutting in line or acting aggressively towards others in person routinely do so when driving. It is easier to be rude to a car than to another person, I guess. But there is a person behind that vehicle!

    Catching their eye is the trick.

    Yes. I read somewhere that the traffic phenomenon is caused by lack of faces.

    When we interact with things with faces (people) (and I suppose dogs, etc.), we recognise them, apprehend them differently. All of our social instincts – and customs and such – come into play. Politeness conventions, generosity, etc.

    But in traffic, even though we on some level know there’s a person inside there, while we can’t see a face we treat other cars as objects, mostly inconveniences in our way. This is all at a subconsious level, and it’s very natural.

    I laugh when I notice that I’m doing it, which is when I happen to catch the eye (see the face) of the driver next to me or across the intersection. My perception changes instantaniously. I go from %$#@! to “Why certainly, slide right in in front of me. Cheerio!” in a heartbeat.

    Edit to add: Aha! Just remembered. It was a 4-part documentary called “The Human Face”, presented and narrated by John Cleese.

    https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0280262/

    • #23
    • May 16, 2018 at 5:23 am
    • 4 likes
  24. Contributor
    Susan Quinn Post author

    Annefy (View Comment):
    Everyone has a story. Be the hero of someone’s.

    Annefy, this is terrific!! You should write a post on this. I loved this comment, too:

    My goal in life is always to be someone’s “story.”

    Perfection.

    • #24
    • May 16, 2018 at 5:56 am
    • 5 likes
  25. Contributor
    Susan Quinn Post author

    I love finding people who are sad or distant or even angry. If I can catch his or her eye, and simply smile, they transform. Smiles are hard to resist, and I love to spread them around!

    • #25
    • May 16, 2018 at 5:58 am
    • 1 like
  26. Thatcher

    People on the road are often Oblivion sources or sinks. Either way, they are surrounded by clouds of Oblivions! 

    • #26
    • May 16, 2018 at 6:01 am
    • 2 likes
  27. Contributor
    Susan Quinn Post author

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):

    People on the road are often Oblivion sources or sinks. Either way, they are surrounded by clouds of Oblivions!

    And if we’re not careful, they will outnumber us! Arrrggghhhh!

    • #27
    • May 16, 2018 at 6:09 am
    • 2 likes
  28. Thatcher

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):

    People on the road are often Oblivion sources or sinks. Either way, they are surrounded by clouds of Oblivions!

    And if we’re not careful, they will outnumber us! Arrrggghhhh!

    I am pretty sure, sometimes it is me who is the source! 

    You know what they say though, anyone going slower than you is an idiot, and anyone going faster is a maniac.

    This has been a lovely thread.

    • #28
    • May 16, 2018 at 6:13 am
    • 4 likes
  29. Coolidge
    TBA

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):

    People on the road are often Oblivion sources or sinks. Either way, they are surrounded by clouds of Oblivions!

    And if we’re not careful, they will outnumber us! Arrrggghhhh!

    Maybe they have – how would we know? 

    • #29
    • May 16, 2018 at 8:21 am
    • 2 likes
  30. Coolidge
    TBA

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    Annefy (View Comment):
    Everyone has a story. Be the hero of someone’s.

    Annefy, this is terrific!! You should write a post on this. I loved this comment, too:

    My goal in life is always to be someone’s “story.”

    Perfection.

    I concur. 

    • #30
    • May 16, 2018 at 8:25 am
    • 4 likes
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