“My religion is very simple. My religion is kindness.”
– Dalai Lama
They say a kind act can go a long way; its domino effect rippling across souls as quickly as it begins.
Still, as simple as kind gestures can be, it seems to happen less frequently. Let’s face it: doing something for others ultimately takes time. If living and working in New York City, how do you squeeze a few seconds of altruism into your day (when it’s already more jam-packed than your average subway at rush hour)? And how do you squeeze those seconds in if the opportunity presents itself for a stranger?
Tangent; I love Valentine’s Day. Instead of focusing too much on the romantic angle, I like to think of it as a day to think about all the great people I have in my life and to let them know how much I love and appreciate them. In light of the holiday, I thought I would recall some recent events of others’ unselfishness in hopes it will encourage you to join the ripple.
“Kindness. It doesn’t cost a damn thing. Sprinkle that shit everywhere.”
In July, I was volunteering for a race in Central Park when it began raining…pretty hard (read: thunder, lightning, torrential downpour). Park and race officials started blowing whistles and using loudspeakers to end the race and direct everyone out of the park for safety issues.
Imagine a mass (MASS) exodus of hundreds of people out of Central Park in this torrential downpour and add no available taxis/ Ubers. Oh, right. #CHAOS.
After finding my way to a nearby subway on Central Park West, other runners/ volunteers and I stood like jam packed sardines waiting for the rain to subside.
At the time, I was still in the middle of racing season; so, when the sky cleared up a bit, I decided to run home. Only when I got home, I realized that in the all the craziness, I had lost my driver’s license.
Now, I watch a lot of [creepy] crime shows (read, SVU, Criminal Minds, etc.) and the idea of losing my license (read, STOLEN. IDENTITY.) sort of…freaked me out (read, I sobbed uncontrollably for an hour or so).
Two weeks later, I received an envelope from my parents – turns out, someone in, around, and/or near the park that day found my license and mailed it home.
There are good people in this world.
“No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.”
There has been a lot of changes in my life as of late – the biggest regarding my career.
How does one transfer from one adult job to the next? Oh yes – by celebrating with
several rounds of an amazing IPA and friends at The Gingerman.
because you don’t need all the details.
I woke up and realized that despite the debauchery the night before, I somehow managed to fall asleep in PJs and a clean face while also misplacing MY ENTIRE WALLET.
If you read the story above, you can only imagine my reaction – especially under the influence.
Less than 24 hours after its disappearance, I reunited with my wallet – ID, credit cards, debit card, and all the cash I had in it – thanks to the patience of not one, but two kind strangers.
The story –
After I had climbed out of the cab, the driver realized that I had dropped my wallet. At the time, a 3rd floor neighbor I had not yet met happened to be on a walk to try and cure his insomnia.
When he neared the front of our building, he noticed the cab driver in front trying to buzz himself in and asked if he could help. Long story short, they managed to generate some mutual trust – the driver, a stranger, relinquishing possession of my wallet, to another stranger.
At this point you’re wondering where I was. Dead asleep.
In my morning-after hysteria, I coincidentally texted my Super to let him know I was missing a wallet/ let me know if he finds a pink glitter one JUST as my neighbor was dropping it off – cash, cards, and some of my pride all in one.
When I went to go thank ‘3B,’ he also happened to take the number of the driver who got me home safely.
Cue the thank you’s.
There are good people in this world.
Even when you act stupid.
“Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.”
– Marjorie Hinckley
When recently celebrating February birthdays with my cousin, she was recapping a 12 hour NY layover to me, “I forgot how mean everyone in New York is. We asked a staff person to help us figure out the AirTrain and she was just so rude! Hello – we are clearly confused because we are not from here!”
* * *
The other night, I was on my way home from an appointment I barely kept – barely kept because I had just flown 3,000 miles across the country and nearly missed it. A 4AM alarm, 6 hours on a plane, and grumpy New Yorkers on their way home from work, meet one non-English speaker, screaming indistinguishable street names and train.
How I could even begin to help when communication was impossible.
Then, the man standing between me and the lost pulled out his phone almost immediately, looking at her poorly written instructions and trying desperately to decipher her travel.
I watched him with admiration, appreciating his instantaneous efforts to try and help this stranger, until he told her that he was getting off at the next stop and the public Wifi wasn’t connecting to his phone. Subway doors open.
Cue the domino effect.
While I typically despise such, I couldn’t help but commend the other passengers attempting to hold the train door open as he searched for service at 42-Grand Central, just to make sure this woman found her way home.
Then, I joined the ripple – pulling out my phone to look for service.
Six subway stops, three phone calls, and one short, staccato conversation in broken Chinese with a fellow passenger later, her target destination somehow came together: Chinatown. While opposite of the direction of heading home, I walked her to the downtown side, wanting to make sure she boarded the right train this time.
Hungry, cold, and tired – her flushed cheeks and repeated thank you’s dissipated any frustrations I had about getting home later than anticipated.
And so, I will continue to try being one of those good people in this world. #spreadlove #spreadkindness
Happy Valentine’s Day!