Random Acts of Kindness

Twitter has been full of a helluva lot of negativity lately. A lot of people are pointing blame-fingers at each other. A lot of people are acting like assholes to each other. A lot of people are telling each other what to do, how to feel, and what’s appropriate behavior. A lot of people are just being downright nasty to each other. I’m not exempt from this. Things I say get taken the wrong way. I get accused of being overly snarky, and sometimes it’s just a bad day. Other times it’s the receiver’s bad day coupled with misunderstanding. Whatever it is though, I’m okay with owning when I screw up, and humbly apologizing, especially if the snark was unintended.

These days though, twitter seems to be full of fuckin’ snark. It’s like a warzone some days.

Except I try to cancel some of those really shitty life days with random acts of kindness. Nothing I ever offer has been elicited, or hinted at, or asked for. I’ve always just done it. Recently it’s been a handful of things I’ve done, but what I did doesn’t matter. Today I want to talk about the reasons why I do it. Because it’s not to get something in return. Or be owed a favor. Or to one-up anyone. I do it because it makes me happy.

Let me back the train up a little bit.

Some of you will never know what real poverty is like. To have to wonder where your next meal is going to come from. To have to accept charity, because that’s all there is and it’s better than starving. Or being homeless. Some of you will never know how difficult it is to have to wonder whether that $10 in the bank is best spent on gas to get to your low paying job or food for a couple days. Some of you won’t know what it’s like to fear having an address. You may never know what it’s like to have to accept the nice things people do for you, and to you, graciously, because you’ll never be able to return the favor in equal magnitude.

I know what that kind of poverty is like. Really, I still live it… sometimes. I have always remembered the nice things people have done for me. I guess, in a way, I’m paying it forward. Doing something nice for someone else, within my means.

The thing is… the reason why this blog post is being written, is that each of the last 3 nice things I’ve done for people have been met with a similar reaction… that people don’t generally do nice things and they’re overwhelmed with happy and smiles and good cries… and I wonder how the hell people can be so overwhelmed by the small and seemingly insignificant nice thing I’ve done.

I emailed a crochet pattern. I mailed some WoW cups. I bought some knitting needles and yarn.

There’s a part of me that would love to fix things for people. I want to make people’s lives better. I want to undo sadness. I want to bring back loved ones. Or reinstate jobs. Mend broken hearts. Always remind people that today can be better than yesterday. I want to just make it better. Not utopian better, because that’s just nonsense. I just want people to not hurt.

But, I can’t bring back loved ones. I can pay anyone’s rent. I can’t mend broken hearts. I can’t fix lives, or people, or make others be nice to each other. There are things within my power though. And I do what I can… when I can.

A crochet pattern, inexpensive, and seemingly uninteresting. But to the person receiving it, it was a great thing. The WoW cups. I bought 6 sets of them with the intention of giving some away for different contests here, but my lazy ass will never get around to even considering coming up with any sort of contest. The person getting them sent something in return. I didn’t ask for it. And I never would. And her happiness made me happy. The box of yarn and knitting needles was for another friend. It won’t bring back the pet she recently lost, or make the weather nicer, or take away the humidity.

At a time when I was at my lowest. I was unemployed and my savings was dwindling. I was constantly upset about my expensive degree and lack of job. I was sorry for myself, and I hated the circumstances. I felt like things were just shit. Every time I turned around, something else was shitting in my Cheerios. 2 years later, things are much different. But I had yarn. And knitting. And random acts of kindness to get me through. Kindness given to me when I didn’t even know I needed it.

Sometimes it’s hard to remember that not everyone knows the same things. That we’re not all feminists. That we aren’t all on the same page with regard to religion, or sexual preference, or how we play WoW, or even how we talk to each other. But dammit, sometimes the smallest thing to you… could mean the world to someone else.

Y’know what though? The thank you is so much more than you can imagine. It’s cheesy and cliché. But it’s true. I will always be surprised when someone says they’re not used to someone being nice. But it’s okay. Maybe you’ll be the next person to receive my random act of kindness. ;)

Tell me a story of something nice you’ve done for someone else… cause this week… this week I think we should celebrate kindness.

8 thoughts on “Random Acts of Kindness

  1. I’ll share a random story… A friend of mine, last month-ish, ended up not realizing his WoW time had run out — and he didn’t have the ability to go pick up a time card for another couple days. Like me, WoW is a big relaxation/chill time for him.
    I “paid forward” the fact that I’m running on a year’s worth of free WoW due to the kindness of a friend, and gifted him a month of game-time from the blizz store.
    it’s not much, by any means… but it was something i *could* do, so i did it.

    • I’ve had someone do this for me. He bought me 4 months of WoW and I refused to accept the gift for quite some time, until his persistence and my desire to play got the better of me.

      I’ve lost count of all of the nice things people have done for me over the years. And all of the times I refused nice things from people out of guild, shame, or pride. I often have to remind myself that at any point, the people I try to do nice things for can refuse to accept my gift and how would that slap in the face feel?? So I give in, because sometimes, it’s just about doing something kind for another person.

  2. Man, I miss when I had money that didn’t go to gas or food. We’re not living at that “where is the next meal coming from” level anymore, thanks to my parents owning the house we live in, but it’s close, sometimes. Especially if I get sick or get scheduled for fewer hours, ensuring the next week’s paycheck will be smaller. I used to buy little things for people – paid time on their dreamwidth journals, a month of WoW time… little things.

    But I think the nicest thing I’ve done for someone recently is probably… well, I have this friend, Charley. They are sweet and have a lot of health issues (both physical and mental) and are unable to work, and still live with their mother. Their mother is emotionally and verbally abusive – not always, but enough for it to worry my wife and I.

    Now, my wife and I are both introverts, even though most people are surprised to learn that I am. We don’t cohabitate well with people. But last month, we had Charley up to stay with us for a month, to give them a month away from their mother, to stay somewhere that people wouldn’t be critical of them for having panic attacks, where people would just love on them if they needed it.

    It was hard on us. By the end of the month, we desperately needed our house back to unwind and destress and recharge. But we gave Charley a month away from their mom, and it was worth it for that.

  3. I went to a memorial service for a dear friend. His wife has severe palsyand wanted to eat a snack, I fed her and felt wonderful that I could be of service

  4. I love random acts of kindness and I’m a firm believer that doing them for other people makes both their and your day better.

    I used to work in a part of Manhattan where there was a home for the blind. Being blind in NYC seems terrifying to me, and the way these people handled themselves often put me in awe. But still, there were times that people needed help, and I was always glad to be there for them.

    For the man who had his cane knocked out of his hand by some douchebag who didn’t even stop to apologize.

    For the group of three blind people who my friends and I held the hands of as we helped them cross a busy street

    For the man in the subway station that couldn’t find the door to the train. One random guy turned back around to jump between the doors before they closed, and another woman and I guided the man onto the train.

    They were always so appreciative to have the help and usually thanked me for it. I would often reply by thanking them as well, because they were giving me much more than I could give them. To have to opportunity to send positive vibes out and be a good person is one that I’ll always look forward to.

  5. What a lovely happy post! Hmm I think my random act of kindness was to have a chibi artwork commissioned for a few friends as surprise gifts, just for being my friends. And because they were too shy to ask or commission someone to do it for them. They all loved theirs so much, my heart felt like it was going to burst from happiness. I was so cuffed I could hardly breathe.

  6. So…I work as a nurse. And I totally get where you are coming from. There are so many people I want to help that I can’t. However, I really try to do small things for them once I’ve sussed things out. Like for one pt, he really hated the shitty tea the hospitals have. It wasn’t anything big to me, I have tons of tea bags at home (red rose, his fave). So one day I was digging around in my cupboards for something and saw my tea bags and was like, yeah. So I brought some in for him. He almost cried, that’s how happy he was to have a cup of non-shitty tea. He was SO thankful for those 8 tiny teabags. It’s small things like that that I love to do, and I try to do it once or twice a week. Sometimes it’s as little as sitting down and listening to them talk about their pets or making them laugh with a silly story.
    It not only gives them a little bit of happiness in their hospital induced sadness, it also lets them know that as a nurse, I really do care about them, and their mental well being, not just their physical. It’s not that expensive for me, and I really do love seeing the happiness on their faces :)

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