The Effects of Random Acts of Kindness

In Creating Happiness, Recent Posts by Barbara Jacoby

Heart in hand black and whiteHave you seen the campaign that is being done by American Honda Motor Co., Inc.? It is one of the very few advertisements to which I pay attention because I love what they are doing. You have probably seen them help a woman with a baby move to a new home or stop by a garage sale where they paid a woman $2,000 for all the things that she was selling and then donate all the things to a local charity. And, like me, you probably thought it was all just an advertisement with no substance behind it. Well, I found out differently when I checked out some information regarding the Southern CA Honda dealers in my area. It seems that the Helpful Guys in Blue are out in our community doing special giveaways for lucky Honda drivers, of course, but they are also making a difference by doing such things as helping to clean local parks and beaches and loading groceries. That got me to thinking about what it would be like if all of us did one small random act of kindness every day.

There are so many little things that we can do to help out someone else and it doesn’t cost us anything but a little bit of observation and one small action. But, that action can have far reaching effects that we may never know or understand.

Think about the last time you did something for someone else. I recently saw someone pick up something and hand it back to the person who had dropped it while struggling with a bunch of other things that she was holding. To the guy who did that it was nothing but for the woman that he helped, she was so grateful as it would have been a real problem for her to try to retrieve the item she dropped. She gave him a big smile and a thank you and you could tell what that meant to her. And speaking of loading groceries, how many times have you seen an elderly person who sure could use a hand to get those bags into the car. I have seen people being helped in this way and the look of relief and gratitude was clearly visible on their faces.

The wonderful part of doing random acts of kindness is that it makes us more aware of our surroundings and the people who occupy that space if even for only a few minutes. If you focus on doing something as simple as greeting someone else with a smile and a nod, you make a difference. For the recipient of that smile, it may be the first time in a very long time that they have been acknowledged. Perhaps someone in the grocery story is struggling to reach an item on an upper shelf that you can easily retrieve. Why not help out that person? It is amazing the difference that you are making for that person and you will also feel good about yourself for having helped. Or you may have an elderly neighbor who lives alone and you have just made a big pot of soup or casserole for your family. Why not put a portion of that food into a container and deliver it to your neighbor who probably doesn’t do much cooking because it is not cost effective to do so for one person?

There are so many little things that we can do to help out someone else and it doesn’t cost us anything but a little bit of observation and one small action. But, that action can have far reaching effects that we may never know or understand. Everyone wants to be acknowledged and no matter how small or big an act of kindness may be, it makes a positive difference not only for the recipient but also the giver. Maybe if we all would make a pledge right now to do at least one thing per day for someone else, we can start a whole new mindset that will filter out through our communities and inspire others to do the same thing. After all, we have nothing to lose but boy, do we have a whole lot to gain.