I went to dinner last night with my kids, ages 11 and 13. At the end of our meal, the waitress, a twenty-something girl, handed me our leftovers and my receipt. When I retrieved my credit card, I found a note tucked into the bill holder. It read: “Thank you so much, you have the nicest, most polite kids. Please enjoy dessert on me. Candace.” In our leftover bag was a box with two giant slices of chocolate cake. I shared the note with my kids and told them “Great job guys!” They just asked when they could have their cake. LOL
I can’t tell you how much this simple act of kindness meant to me. For a girl of this age – after her tip had already been received – to take the time to write this note, make this gesture, made my weekend. I have the BEST kids, of course, so I don’t need notes from strangers to point this out to me. Yes, they get on my nerves and do dopey stuff as kids do, but they are awesome people and I am so lucky to be their mom. So it’s a terrific feeling when others notice how special they are too. It makes me feel like no matter how many other things I f*ck up, at least I’m doing this one thing right (mostly), although I’m sure their shrink will tell me otherwise 20 years from now. 🙂
I first became aware of random acts of kindness when I lost my mom. When you lose someone you love, it changes you. It changes how you look at life. I’ve always been a positive, optimistic person, but after my mom died, I suddenly felt like I wanted to make a more concerted effort to be a better person. To notice things. To see people – really see them for who they are. I lost all patience with small talk and false pretenses. Life was too short for bullshit and crappy attitudes. The world has enough negativity, and as one of my smartest friends likes to say, “I don’t want to pollute.” So I made an effort to say hello to everyone. To ask how they were doing – and listen, really listen for the answer. (I had the best chat with the butcher once about international travel at 7AM on a Sunday that led me to a powerful insight – totally would have missed out on that had I not been chatty!!) To pay attention when someone was hurting or having a down day. I can’t control death but I can control how I live. I want to thank Candace for reminding me of this and for giving me this fantastic moment with my children. She gave us so much more than cake. 🙂
I challenge you to look for moments where you can commit a random act of kindness. You just never know how much it might mean to someone. What a difference you could make.