Stormy Weather

December 22, 2008

I was coming home from the office last week on a night that was cold and snowing hard, after a day that was just plain hard. You know what it’s like when you are just so tired and shell-shocked after work that it feels like you are among the walking dead? As I was leaving a store I had to stop by, I was shaken out of a trance by an elderly African-American woman called out to me from the parking lot and said “Excuse me sir, but you know you have a beautiful head of hair?” It was such a totally random and odd thing to hear from a complete stranger that it took me initially by surprise, but it was a surprise that made me smile.

I think I was the beneficiary of a random act of kindness. In fact, all weekend long I saw many acts of kindness. There was a major snowstorm and cars were stuck in the snow. I saw many people pull over and with a strong and VERY COLD wind blowing down, they helped pull and push each other out of trouble. Once one person stopped to help, it seemed like others found it easier to stop and help. It might have been cold, but I can tell you for sure that it doesn’t matter if you are a famous lawyer or an unemployed auto worker – once we got that car out of the snow bank EVERYBODY was smiling.

Maybe we are at our best when times are hardest, or maybe we are just especially aware of the little things at these times. But something as simple as an unexpected, random act of kindness or an unexpected kind word can bring a smile and change our mood. It’s worth remembering this holiday season that a kind word of encouragement or a simple act of kindness can mean so much to another person – and it makes us happier to have helped a person to smile.