Thursday, December 04, 2008

Happiness is contagious. Spread the wealth.


It’s random acts of kindness week at GNO. Now, I’d like to say that all GNO-ers do many ACKs and do so quietly and without pomp but being this is Christmas and kindness begets kindness (and happiness begets happiness), I will share my ACK for the day.
I hailed a gypsy cab for an elderly lady with a cane. Ok, simple enough, right? Yes it is. That’s the point.
DH had to make it to a gig so I needed to be home early to relieve him of baby duties. Of course this being December in NYC, traffic was horrendous and my bus never showed up. So I hoofed it. I walked 23 blocks home. With each step I felt time ticking down so I did the New York walk, swift with blinders on and goal in sight. I made it 13 blocks when I caught out of the corner of my eye an very small 4’7 elderly lady with a silver cane behind a parked car. She didn’t clear the hood of the car and her coat matched the car making it difficult to spot her but something about her made it’s way through my blinders. I noticed she would meekly lift her cane every now and then. It was rush hour and throngs of people were shuffling to and fro around her not paying her any mind. Something told me to stop. “Are you trying to hail a cab, ma’am?” “Yes, but they don’t seem to see me.”
So I did what any good citizen should do, I hauled my butt in the middle of the busy two way street and stopped a gypsy cab for her and helped her get in. Hailing a cab isn’t fun in NY and during the holidays, it’s even trickier. I helped the lady get in the cab and went on my way.
As I continued my brisk walk I thought about random acts of kindness and how I’ve always believed ACKs beget ACKs. Then I thought about why do an ACK. It used to be because we are human and we all need a little kindness. Now, as a new mom, I have an added reason, so that the world may be a better place for my child. Sure, I can say, that I hope my child learns by example but there is so much more than my child learning through my actions. I want my child to not only learn through example but also see that it can beget change even in a very small way.
How many times have I been uplifted by a simple smile from a stranger or watching someone on the bus give a to stranger a tissue to dry their eyes or blow their nose. That’s the world I want my child to see and live in. It’s a world of kindness and compassion. It’s a world where we’re not insulated and self serving. In a city where we can be total strangers to people sharing a wall with us, you can forget how important it is to be a part of the biggest society out there, humankind.
So I hope this inspires you to do a simple random act of kindness. Hold a door open for someone. Buy the homeless person you see on the train a cup of coffee. Give away your seat on the bus just because. Let that person with 3 items cut in front of you at the supermarket even though she’s paying by check. It may not seem like much but your building a better world for my child.