Unexpected Kindness

“Acts of kindness, whether given or received, has been proven to have positive therapeutic effects on a person’s medical and mental health.”– Beth R. Porter, LCSW

The First Time

I first saw her in the produce section – she was passing by as I looked over the fresh spinach. A few moments and three aisles later, I moved my cart so she could get by.

Another aisle, another pass. In the cheese section, we nodded as she went one way and I went another. Finally, I checked off all the items on my list and made my way to the checkout. She was in front of me, and we chuckled.

I paid for my groceries and was ready to go home. Again, I saw her as I approached my car and noticed we were parked next to each other.

“I feel like a stalker!” I said. She smiled as I chuckled. While stowing our groceries, we struck up a conversation. Five minutes later, we had just about discussed every world issue.

I mentioned farming, she told me her stories. We lamented the idea that not only did most children today not know where their food comes from – except the grocery store – but also that young adults are entering the real world without knowing the simple skills in life, like how to sew a button. We finally ended our chat, and both of us went on our way.

Kindness for The Second Time

A few minutes later, I made a snap decision to stop at Subway to get the Country Boy some lunch – something I rarely do. As I pulled up to the window and handed the clerk my money, she waved it off.

“The lady in front of you bought your lunch,” she said.
“Oh, really? How sweet!”
“Yes, ma’am. And the lady in front of her bought her lunch.”
“That is wonderful,” I said. “Let’s keep this going. How about if I buy lunch for the guy behind me?”

By the look on the young girl’s face, you could tell that the clerk thought this was highly unusual, if not downright crazy. But the idea of keeping the kindness going just felt right.  It was sad that the young girl may have rarely, if ever, been exposed to this degree of random kindness for a complete stranger.

Third Time’s the Charm

My unexpected week of kindness ended on a similar note. While standing in line at Lowe’s, the woman in front of me turned to speak. While waiting, we talked about various things, and ended up thrilled that we both had fiber crafts in common.

She mentioned that she wanted to learn how to do Candlewicking (an old Colonial style of needlework). It brought back memories of Aunt Dot doing that, and I offered to see if I could find some of her information on it.

(And, to the lady at Lowe’s – [sorry! I don’t use real names unless I have your permission!] – if you are reading this, I am still looking, but I know I remember it among her things!)

Driving home, I realized that my heart felt lighter and I smiled.  I met two total strangers, had a pleasant conversation with both, had my lunch purchased by another stranger and was given the opportunity to buy a stranger’s lunch. It made for a very special week.

This world we live in is tough. Why not work together to make it a better place to live? Be quick with a genuine smile. Offer a kind word. Lend a helping hand. Be gentle. And love your neighbor. If we all do it, we just might have a healthier, happier world before we know it.

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Julie Murphree is a blogger, newspaper columnist, and speaker on all things ‘Living a Simple Life on the Farm’. She is the author of \\\'The Farm Wife – Living a Simple Life on the Farm. She and her husband have 60 acres in NW Louisiana where they actively work on living as sustainable as possible.

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