Wednesday, August 29, 2007

How To Be a Good Person

Wendy's Drive-Thru, 1:06 pm.
When the distracted mom in the car behind yours fails to apply enough pressure to her brake pedal, allowing the car to inch forward without her noticing, until it makes contact with your car, do not get angry. Tell the cashier to give this message to the distracted mom: "Have a good day." Pay for her order. Then drive away, with a friendly wave.
I was the recipient of this unexpected good deed today, and I can't stop thinking about it.
For one thing, I feel like a jerk for not responding to the little wave of the lady as she left. I was confused about her leaving. I thought for sure that she would pull into the parking lot so we could check out the damage. So when she drove away, I sat there stunned. I wish I could have given her some recognition, some sign of my appreciation.
The incident also set my mind racing about kindness in this world, and in my life. I don't think of myself as an unkind person. But I wouldn't consider myself particularly kind, either. Upon honest examination, I think I fall into a middle ground --- not looking to harm or help. I keep my eyes forward and focus on my own errands, my own goals and priorities. I don't see opportunities to surprise people with kindness. For instance, if I had been the person whose car was tapped, I could have easily brushed off the accident. But the gesture of paying for the person's food would have never entered my mind.
To give myself credit, I sometimes have a fleeting inspiration to do something unexpected and nice, usually for a friend. Nine times out of ten, though, those ideas are never acted upon. I just don't get around to them. After being on the receiving end of such kindness today, I hope my pattern will change.
+++++ How about you? Would you have bought my lunch? Or do you have any random-act-of-kindness stories to share? +++++


Colin said...

Jesus just winked.

Megan said...

man, that is an amazing story. I probably wouldn't have done it before, but I hope it will occur to me in similar circumstances in the future.

Maiasaura said...

yeah, me too. :-)