We get 24 hours in a day. For most of us a quarter of that time is spent sleeping. that leaves 18 hours of productivity. We choose to fill that time with work, family, friends, maybe eating. But, lets be honest, most of us spend the majority of our time just wasting time. I do it, you do it. We all do it. Playing games, iPad, iPhone, Facebook, Twitter, Tinder, Tumblr, Fumblr. Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, Amazon Not so prime (aka reading)
We waste so much of our 18 hours just wasting time. I’m not accusing. I do it too. And because we waste so much time, we often feel rushed because we feel we have so little time. Or, for some of us, looking and feeling busy is the rush we desire. I think I already wrote on this topic, maybe not, but looking busy has become a personality trait for many. I’m funny, he’s athletic, She’s always busy. (Or he’s always busy, not to judge) We rush around and we don’t have time for simple things.
I’m not talking about family, friends, watching birds and smelling flowers. Those things are cute, but the simple things I’m talking about are as follows:
1: Putting your shopping cart back in the return area. And I’m not talking about leaving it in the general area, barely touching the one in front of it, but still hanging out in the parking lot. I mean pushing it all the way down the chute and possibly even slamming it into the back of the previous one so they all lock together. It’s so tacky and annoying when I’m returning my cart and I cant even get it into the chute because everyone has just left a pile. So busy they just couldn’t give it a good shove. Who does this affect. First of all, me! Secondly the guys and girls making minimum wage fetching these carts. They should be able to hook them up in a little train and return them. Instead they spend most of their time having to push them all together. Which breaks their backs and leaves more and more shopping cart mess in the parking lot. And if you are the person who leaves your cart in the parking space next to you…. I’m coming for you!
2: Saying hello to the Walmart greeter. (This also applies to Target, Home Depot, and any other shopping center or market that employs someone usually elderly or disabled to say hello and make you feel welcome) Saying hello costs no energy and takes no time. They say hello, you say hello. Maybe smile, but its not required. Of course, I’ve lived in places where if someone says hello to you on the street, there’s a pretty good chance you are going to be leaving with less money. But, I can 99.9% assure you the Walmart greeter isn’t going to mug you or swindle you into buying them a new car. Just say hello.
3: Cleaning up the mess you made on or around your table at a restaurant. I’ve eaten with kids, and they can be messy. I’ve eaten with adults, and they can be messy. I get it. You’re having a great time eating and celebrating and throwing your bread up in the air and sometimes things will fall to the floor. But, if you are able to pick up your fork, napkin, onion ring, or 4 month old baby, that would be a great help to the servers and busboys so they don’t have to climb under the table. And if they aren’t the cleaning type so the next customer doesn’t have to step on your fork, napkin, onion ring, or 4 month old baby. It doesn’t take that much time and it’s a great help.
4: Putting clothes back on the hanger at a store. Many places employ armies whose entire job it is to put clothes away. But, you know there are other places where an hour after opening it looks like a tornado came through and knocked every article of clothing off its hanger and onto the floor or draped over the rack. It’s a disaster for the employees and future shoppers. I won’t say I’m the biggest fan of hanging up clothes, but how much time and energy does it really take to notice a shirt is the wrong size and to put it back on the hanger it came off of? This also applies to folded clothes, but I would recommend having a PhD in Foldology first.
Yes, we are busy. Some days are more rushed that others. But, if you take a little extra time to help a fellow man or woman, the world might be just a little nicer.
Some people call them random acts of kindness. I like to think that they aren’t so random. For something to be random, it means it happened without expecting it, on a breeze with no forward thought. It might come across as random to the receiver; after all they weren’t expecting it. But, for the provider, it should not be so random.
Nothing feels as good as when someone does something nice for you. They didn’t have to help you, but that person felt your need and gave you what they had. I often fantasize about going into a restaurant and leaving a waitress a hundred dollar tip. I know that extra money would make her day and reward her for doing a great job. (This, if you remember, is the reason for the tip) I, however, do not have that kind of money so that fantasy of kindness will have to wait. But nothing is written that says you can’t leave them a nice note with the check, or simply giving them a sincere thank you.
There are other ways someone can display an act of kindness. Helping a neighbor with their groceries, giving someone with a broken foot a ride, sending a handwritten letter to someone who has lost a loved one and other acts like that. They are so simple to do, and make a world of difference.
Personally, there was a time when I was stuck in the Ontario, California airport. My 6am flight was canceled because THEY FORGOT THE PLANE! No joke, they forgot it. A plane needs to go through hours of pre-flight checks and inspections. They forgot to line up an aircraft to act as the 6am flight and could not get the pre-flight checks done in time. (I would also like to thank the chatty airline worker at the gate for telling me all this) I had the option to jump on another flight fifteen minutes later, but not everyone could get on. I chose to give up my seat to someone else who might need it more. And I did it again on the next flight and the next. I was not in a rush to get home, so why not give someone else a chance? I believe I let a total of five or six flights go and waited an extra eight hours. But I felt good knowing that I was able to help five or six people, even though they did not know it was me.
I never knew if it helped anyone but I think I made a few people smile providing Free Hugs on Fridays. It was called Free Hugs Fridays and every Friday I would wear a shirt that read “Free Hugs Today”. The premise was simple, if you want a hug at no charge, I would be willing to give it to you. I took the act on the road from Columbus, Ohio to Pasadena, California and I gave out a lot of hugs. Yes, there were a few drunk guys at Steak n Shake at 2am and a homeless guy that smelled like rotten meat, but everyone got the same hugs. What really made my day was when I was walking down Colorado Blvd in Pasadena and the door greeter at this really upscale restaurant yelled inside “The free hugs guy is here!” and one at a time the entire wait-staff came out for their hugs. I guess word about me had gotten around.
I ask everyone reading this to open their eyes, ears and heart and start thinking about what they can do to show Christ’s love. Anything you can do to make someone smile or feel good. It doesn’t have to be anything grand, just a simple act of kindness.