I posted the image below on my facebook page because it spoke to me. I liked its whimsical feel, its innocence, its message. Kind is often used as an adjective to describe a person as in, She is a kind young lady. It may also be a noun as in, What kind of cookie is that? But when you add the word be in front of those four letters, it takes the word into something much more. It becomes an imperative, a call to action.
Kindness inspires writers and artists to create graphics, artwork, stories, essays, and even a haiku.
Please be kind today
Step beyond the manner bound
Do stop someone’s rain
I became curious about the saying “random acts of kindness” and how it came about. Where and how did the idea get traction? According to The History of Random Acts of Kindness,
It all started in a Sausalito, California, restaurant in 1982 when Anne Herbert scrawled the words “practice random acts of kindness and senseless acts of beauty” on a placemat. From there it spread to bumper stickers, quietly at first, but with all the powerful momentum of something important–calling us to lives of caring and compassion.
Shortly after I posted the kindness graphic on my Facebook page, my husband and I experienced our own random act of kindness as we ate dinner at our golf clubhouse. We had an inside window table enabling us to look out through the floor to ceiling windows onto the patio and beyond to the Santa Rosa Mountains.
Part way through dinner, our waiter bent down between us to say in sotto voce, “That man on the patio will be picking up your tab.” He nodded in the direction of a table with three men and a woman.
“What?” I wasn’t sure I’d heard what I thought I’d heard.
“That man on the patio will be picking up your tab,” the waiter repeated.
“Which man?” I asked, perplexed. I looked and didn’t recognize anyone.
“The one in the blue shirt,” he replied.
“Two of the men have on blue shirts.” I gave the waiter a puzzled look.
“Not the one with his back to you. The other one.” The waiter nodded again in the man’s direction.
I relayed the news to my husband who hadn’t heard the exchange due to hearing loss in his right ear. He, too, looked out at the mystery man. We could see him in profile only.
The waiter nodded yet again and left. My husband and I kept glancing out at the man’s table, feeling a bit peculiar, wondering if we looked “down and out.” Why would someone we didn’t know pick up our tab? Twenty minutes later, the four diners stood. The man looked toward our table, smiled, waved and, with his friends, headed toward the patio exit.
Oh, this was too much. We weren’t even going to have the opportunity to speak to him. But due to construction, the patio exit was closed and the four had to exit through the restaurant, right past our table. The man stopped beside us. We blurted out our thank you. He must have seen why written on our faces. He then said, “You two were having such a good time and are such a good looking couple, I knew I wanted to do something for you.”
What? We were considerably older than he and his companions. He asked how long we’d been married. Probably not as long as he thought. Ours is a second marriage for each, coming in at 39 years. He wished us well and was about to leave with his companions when he focused on my husband’s cap. He saw the words WWII, Northern Illinois University, and names of sporting events embroidered on it. The conversation became lively and fun, with the four hovering and kneeling around our table. The interlude ended with, “Thank you for your service.” This made Tony, a former marine (and always a marine) beam.
Here’s our mentor with Tony. I love the man’s smile and treasure his thoughtful gesture. Thank you, Greg, for making our day! We realized you don’t necessarily have to stop the rain. Sometimes a random act of kindness just makes the sun shine brighter.