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Random Acts of Kindness...

Today I'm reflecting on a random act of kindness...

Last weekend, my 'little family' (just my husband and me and our two youngest boys) went to the movie theater to watch Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3. For us, no trip to the theater is complete without purchasing 5x the cost of the tickets in concessions before we go into the movie (ok, maybe a bit of an exaggeration, but you get the point!). We were loaded up with popcorn, candy, and empty cups as we headed around the corner to the pop machine. Oh, the glorious pop machine! You know the one, the big, brightly lit Coca-Cola machine with the touch screen and so many flavors that the line is backed up 10 deep while everyone chooses just the right combination of regular, diet, caffeinated, non-caffeinated, flavored and unflavored beverages? It’s a sight to behold and completely unlike any regular old pop machine! My husband and I function at maximum efficiency. We’re old pros at this (if I do say so myself), so we divide and conquer - splitting the cups between us and each getting in our own line. We’re in-and-out people. We know what we want, and we’re going to spend as little time with the monstrosity as possible. Then we'll quickly move on to our comfy reclining seats, movie trivia and previews. As we approach the machines side-by-side, we're ready: napkins, lids, straws, we've got it all as we manage pops and popcorn and snacks on the teeny-tiny counters situated next to the pop machines. And then, just as we finished, loaded up and started to head off to our anxiously awaited theater, I heard a small voice behind me: 'Well, how in the world do you suppose this thing works?'. Oh no. Time for an instant decision. I could've kept walking. I was loaded down with stuff. And did I mention the teeny-tiny counters? I could've pretended I didn't hear him. It would've been so easy. It was definitely loud in the lobby. My family was waiting for me, and I'm the MOM. They're my JOB. But...I turned. And saw an older gentleman approaching the big machine cautiously. How could I turn away? Nope, couldn’t be done. I gently set my things down as I patiently told him I would help him. I walked him through each step, 'press your cup here for ice', then, 'what type of drink would you like?'. I managed the screen for him as we got the machine ready to dispense the old favorite: Coca-Cola, fully leaded. He filled his cup as I supervised. And he was so grateful as he attached his lid and straw and prepared to head off to his movie. I assured him it was my pleasure to help him as I enjoyed that satisfied feeling that comes from making someone else's life a tiny bit easier. I re-gathered my stuff, and my family and I began to make our way to our seats. I don't know about other families, but there is always some minor chaos surrounding the actual arrangement of our group in our seats as we decide who will sit where and especially who will sit (gasp!) next to the strangers at the ends of our foursome. On this day, I was barely paying attention as I simply headed straight down to the end of our group of recliners to take the end seat next to a stranger (reference the Mom comment earlier - pretty sure sitting next to the stranger in the movie theater is in the job description somewhere). I sat in my chair, got settled, and glanced at the occupant of the seat next to me...the older gentleman from the pop machine.

Where you see an opportunity, try a random act of kindness. Here are some ideas to get you started...

  • Smile at someone who looks unhappy when you’re out and about.

  • Offer to let someone go ahead of you in line when you have many items and they only have a few.

  • Paying with a credit card for a restaurant meal with especially great service? Take a minute and write a quick note of appreciation to the server (of course, a nice tip is appreciated, too!).

  • When someone holds the door for you, or you for them, look them in the eye and give them a genuine ‘thank you’ or ‘you’re welcome’. Maybe even tell them to have a great day, while you’re at it!

  • Write an outstanding review for a company that earned it.

  • And my personal favorite – when you see a parent loading small children into their car at the grocery store, offer to take their cart back for them!

I’d love to hear your feedback…what did you try? How do you feel?

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