The Power of Kindness: Open Season On Goodness

I had reached the precipice of the dark abyss, hooked a leg over the top and climbed out into the sunshine, all because of that little display of goodness.

It dawned on me, though, how that one tiny act of goodness had impacted so many people – not just me.

For one thing, it had taught that little girl about putting others first, about being kind to people and how good it makes you feel.  That was a lesson she will no doubt carry forward to others in the future and maybe teach her own daughter someday.

It probably made the lady herself feel better.  It wasn’t a big effort on her part, it didn’t really cost her a lot of time – but she didn’t have to do it, she could just as easily have ignored her daughter and me and gotten checked out and been on her way.  She didn’t though and for that small investment on her part she received my accolades in front of her daughter, who probably brought them home and told the whole family how nice mommy and she had been to this man.

The 30-something fellow who was checking me out saw the whole thing too and I could see in his face the relief created by seeing someone being nice instead of nasty.  The teenage girl who was bagging groceries was grinning too as she watched the interaction.   That brief snippet of goodness may have carried both of them through their shift with just a little more optimism.

Beyond that, who knows how that one speck of goodness had illuminated others who had observed it.  I saw smiles on the faces of people around us when the lady let me go first.  People in line listened as I chatted with the lady and I sensed a general lessening of stress as they witnessed the positive force of a selfless act.

As I walked towards the exit door I glanced back.  Both the lady and her daughter were waving goodbye like we were old friends.  I didn’t know their names and would probably have trouble picking them out in a crowd; it wasn’t one of those encounters where you exchange business cards.

But I think that’s part of the power of goodness.  It’s not as much who they were but what they did.  In fact, I think the act is more powerful because of the anonymity.  It’s not about taking credit; it’s about the personal benefit of doing a good deed.

They say this is the season to show good cheer, but I say the entire year should be open season for goodness.  I encourage Weekenders to go out and do one act of goodness today – or two or three – and repeat as often as needed.  Who knows, maybe goodness is good medicine.

Randy Gaddo, a retired Marine who also served for 15 years in municipal parks and recreation, is now a full-time photojournalist who lives in Beaufort, S.C.; he can be reached at (678) 350-8642 or email cwo4usmc@comcast.net.

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5 comments on “The Power of Kindness: Open Season On Goodness

  1. John Kennedy on said:

    Thanks for this. I do believe that people sometimes get caught up in life’s frenzy and forget how a small act of kindness can go such a long way. This am I was leaving my apartment and a guy that was visiting one of the other residents said hello as he was standing at his car. We talked for a second and he said that he was probably going to be late to work cause he had a flat tire. Looking at his car more closely he indeed had a flat tire. The weather was not good and getting worse. I thought for a moment and knew I had a can of flat fixer in my truck. I turned to him and said that I thought I had a can of flat fixer and proceeded to dig it out from under my back seat. He was very thankful and he proceeded to fill his tire. By then I had headed off so I would not be late.
    The feeling of overall warmth and satisfaction I felt in this simple deed was amazing. If I could bottle it and sell it I would be a rich man. Giving a $4 can of flat fixer to a perfict stranger has done more to get me into the Christmas spirit than anything I have done for a long time.
    God Bless and Pay It Forward

  2. Cindy Oslon on said:

    Thank you for sharing this warm story. During this crazy time I too have tried to slow down and take time to let others go first. I thank God for the people I encounter in the city where I have worked and lived in for the past 33 years, who are doing acts of kindness also this year. God Bless you and Merry Christmas.

  3. Vern Fowler on said:

    I agree, we should have this feeling of “helping out or being nice” 24/7 – 365 days a year, not just at Christmas. My wife and I, when at a restaurant, have tried to be in the habit of “observing a family or an elderly person…or perhaps just someone that looks like they could stand a good meal – On the House”. We ask the person at the check out to pay for their meal and when the recipient asks “Who paid for this?” We only ask that the person at check-out tell them “Someone who cares…Have a Great Day”.

    • Nice! You exemplify my point that sometimes it’s the anonymous good deed that brings the highest satisfaction. Thanks for the comment.

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