An Act of Kindness
There was a shooting on Thursday, 6/14/2018, at a gas station of one of the groceries I use most frequently in the entire state of Washington. Someone died. I hadn’t heard a thing about it: I’d been busy having a grand time at a Yelp business mixer, meeting fascinating people in as wide a range of professions as stand-up comic, magician and hairstylist.
But I stopped at that grocery yesterday to get some staples. The customer directly in front of me in the checkout line was visually-impaired and the clerk was patient and kind, helping the gentleman with everything from running his credit card through the reader to making sure someone escorted the man to his car. As I stepped up for my turn, the clerk and I exchanged “How are you?” chat. He answered “Well, I’m kinda shook up from yesterday.” I asked what he meant, and the customer behind me answered. I’d intended to compliment that friendly, cheerful clerk on his gentleness with the prior customer. My shock frightened that thought out of mind.
I am in awe of someone who could keep his composure to be considerate the day after such a wrenching experience. And I’m glad for him. There is growing research that kindness benefits the giver just as much as the recipient. This Washington Post article “Wired for Kindness: Science shows we prefer compassion, and our capacity grows with practice.” (Goleman, Daniel, June 23, 2015, Inspired Life section) gives an excellent summary of data suggesting that the benefits are a hard-wired survival strategy from our birth. Many newspaper articles cite medical/scientific research that kindness slows aging, decreases stress, increases people’s tolerance for pain. The data analyst in me (I used to manage the donor records of non-profits in a prior incarnation) hunted in far nooks and crannies to find the articles, and failed. I’m not sure what to think of that.
The self-styled “small but mighty” team at the nonprofit Random Acts of Kindness wants everyone to try a bit of it every day. I hope I’ll find that store clerk again. He is special.
An Act of Kindness – Footnote and Sustenance, Kindness and a continuing story tell more.
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