I read a speech some time ago, a commencement speech gone viral by author George Saunders. In the speech he talks about one of his greatest regrets, not being kind enough (Speech Text).
That is an extremely poor and inadequate summary of what he said but his speech touched me. In this day when we spend so much of our time and energy talking down, about and around others, when we spend our days avoiding, when we too often abandon the need for kindness, what he says rings true and I hope inspires.
The need for simple kindness has never been greater.
And, it happens, probably every day, probably to you. Maybe not in what we read, I just read several speeches from the CPAC convention, kindness never came to mind. I just watched the morning political shows, kindness didn’t appear, we are currently being inundated with Republican ads for the primary in Texas and those guys, all guys by the way, left kindness, understanding and empathy at someone else’s doorway.
Yet, we find it every day.
I was at Walgreens, standing in line, somewhat patiently with my three bags of sugar free Werther's Originals. The cashier on the right was dealing with a cart full of little things; the one on the left was dealing with a return, like I said, somewhat patiently. Hey, I wasn’t glaring or tapping my foot.
An employee walked past the line and said they could help at the photo counter. There were two people behind me and one in front, I turned about the same time the last person in line, a petite, dark haired, middle-aged woman, did. She looked at me and said, “You go ahead, you were next in line.”
I thanked her for her kindness, it made my day better.
That same day I received a call from one of the internet vendors we use for Marty’s “products”. We are a good customer and have been using the same company for several years. Our overall experience with Cheap Chux has been excellent. They are reasonably priced and fast and take care of their customers.
As a prolific user of the internet to buy “products” I rarely if ever talk to any of these people on the phone. It’s one of the advantages.
The lady on the phone told me one of the products we consistently use had a promotion that I hadn’t been using. She’s right; I wasn’t using it because I didn’t want to send in receipts to get coupons. She told me she realized I hadn’t been doing that and she took it upon herself to send in copies of our receipts and she had our coupons and she would apply them as I made future orders, all I needed to do was send her a note.
I thanked her for her kindness and it made my day better.
It happens. We see it around us, people doing nice, polite, kind things that affect us. When I am with Marty they hold doors, they let us on an elevator, they move their children aside, humanity can be kind and it always makes my day better.
I find myself identifying with Mr. Saunders; I have often regretted my haste, my self-importance, my blindness in not being kinder. It’s not necessarily a new age affliction but our fast paced electronic driven lives hasn’t helped.
I want to work on that. I want people to know, in spite of the vitriol and hatefulness we often see on the internet and in politics and in our daily lives, that there are people, good people who are out there doing others a solid. I’m going to talk about it more.