To me, the road to success in life is all about identifying the repeating patterns of what happens, and then doing a little better each time the opportunity comes around again. One of my personal patterns is that I get overly engrossed in work, putting my head down to push forward, and I forget to look up and enjoy all that is. Sooner or later something occurs to jolt me out of that pattern, and over the years, as I’ve come to recognize this pattern, the needed ‘jolt’ has become smaller (and fortunately, less painful!).
The ‘jolt’ came this time in the form of a random act of kindness from a stranger. Actually, it was two acts from two strangers in the span of two days…
The Reynolds family went backpacking a few weekends ago in the Indian Heaven Wilderness area in Washington state. To get there, we crossed the Bridge of the Gods in Cascade Locks and got our money out to pay the toll. Much to our surprise, when it was our turn, the attendant told us the person ahead had already paid for us. That was pretty cool, and so unexpected that I had already driven forward before thinking about passing that kindness on to the next person.
So, I should have been ready to pay it forward the very next day as we were driving back over on a different toll bridge, but I’m embarrassed to say I wasn’t… until the attendant at that toll bridge told us the person ahead had already paid for us! This time I remembered to give money for the person behind us to keep that goodwill moving forward.
These two random acts of kindness cost these strangers a total of $3.00. The value to me though, as together these acts helped break me out of a negative pattern, is huge! So now I’m on the lookout for small ways to pleasantly surprise others, and here are some suggestions from randomactsofkindness.org:
- Buy a cup of coffee for the person behind you in line.
- Let someone go in front of you in line who has only a few items.
- Place positive body image notes in jean pockets at department stores.
- While you’re out, complement a parent on how well-behaved their child is. And of course,
- Pay the toll for the person behind you!