Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Random Acts of Kindness

I learned something today.

I learned that February is Random Act of Kindness Month.

I also learned how a random act of kindness can affect someone.

This morning, I decided to stop at Starbucks for a drink, and to also get a breakfast sandwich, since they had a promotion running and I had never tried one before. When I got to the window to pay, the barista gave me my sandwich, handed me my drink, and then informed me that he wouldn't be accepting my payment this morning because the lady in the car ahead of me had taken care of it.

I just kind of stared at him at first. I've heard of these types of things happening, but I'd never experienced it before. I was shocked that people actually do this. Shocked, and very happy. Then I said to him, "Are you kidding me?" He smiled and said, "Nope!" I thanked him, and drove off.

That's it. It absolutely made my morning. And suddenly, I realized why people do this. To make someone else's day. To make someone feel exactly how I felt at that moment.

So, to the lady who paid for my order at Starbucks this morning - mission accomplished.

Throughout the morning, I was thinking of ways to pay it forward. I just knew I had to. I wanted to make someone's day, too. So I will, and I have an idea of how and when, but that I'll keep to myself. :)

Anyway, I then realized something else. I realized that when someone performs a random act of kindness, the recipient isn't the only one who is affected. That barista at Starbucks, I bet he thought it sure was a nice thing for that lady to do. And I bet it put him in a better mood. And I bet he told a co-worker or two about it because, let's be honest, it's not something you see all that often. And I bet it warmed their hearts a little, too.

Then, when I got to work, I told my students what had happened. They were so surprised! They kept asking me, "Why did she do that?" and "Did she know you?". So I explained to them that it was a random act of kindness, it's done for no reason at all, just to be nice. They thought that was so cool! These are kids who haven't experienced much kindness or generosity in their lives. What a great lesson for them!

I know I'm being all mush and corny, but I guess that what I'm trying to say is that this one little $6 random act of kindness touched a lot of people! And I know that when I pay it forward, it's going to touch a lot of people, too.

It wasn't until later that I found out it was Random Act of Kindness Month. I also found out who started the chain at Starbucks. Through Facebook, I found out that she had purchased the drink for the person in front of me, who paid it forward to me. It kind of makes me wish that I had bought the drink for the person behind me, but I'm glad I decided to wait. This way, it won't all happen at Starbucks (although that would be okay, too), but I can do it somewhere else where there will be a whole different group of people who can be affected by it.

People can be amazing. I'm glad I witnessed it. It makes me want to be amazing, too.