Today in the Kitchener Waterloo area, it’s Total Random Act Of Kindness Day. Lately I’ve been trying to be more of a participant then an observer on such days– especially when the goal of the day is to make the community a better place to live. So today I did an act of kindness, and in turn I got an interesting lesson out of it to boot.
First a little background
When I lived in Hamilton, my house mate and I would spend many a late night in Thode studying for what ever exam/midterm McMaster was preparing to throw at us. Often on the way home from a long night of studying we would drop our books off at home and head off to the Tim Horton’s down the street. Once there we’d grab a donut, coffee (and on those tough long days, a bowl of chili) and then waddle back home to decompress in front of the TV before we called it a night.
One time when we walked in, it was obvious there was a man who was going through a hard time, and hanging out in the Horton’s for warmth. Chris (the house mate) saw this on the way out, walked over, gave him his coffee and left with his donut. I can’t pinpoint why, but this act floored me. This was the first time I witnessed an act of total random kindness. There was no day to celebrate it, nor ask by the man for change. This was someone opening his eyes to the world around him, and acting on what he saw.
The walk home was cold, but I think both Chris and I didn’t need the coffee to keep us warm.
Today when I was walking home from a meeting on King St. an older man huddled in the doorway and asked me for 50 cents. I usually don’t carry change on me and I usually just tune out these requests. But today, I remembered the day, and I remembered Chris at Tim Horton’s five years ago. I listened and stepped up.
So I offered to go to the Coffee Culture and buy him a coffee. He took me up on the offer, I got him a coffee and gave him that along with the change from the purchase. This is when the unexpected happened to me: In return he gave me two coupons for free coffee (funny enough, the coupons were for Coffee Culture, the place I bought the coffee from!).
There is a lesson here about the rewards of being kind.
I gave one coupon to my coworker when I came in, and hanged the other in my office to remind me about this lesson; the rewards (intrinsic or not) of being kind.