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Simple acts of kindness

Photo: Adam Nemeroff on Unsplash



When my friend Pauline asked if I wanted to hear some good news for a change, there was no way I was going to say no. Is it just me, or is positive news in short supply now?


Pauline and her friend were in a café, and when she sat down, she put her stick beside her, which fell and hit the man at the next table. That wasn’t a problem, and they engaged in some banter. When they were ready to leave, they went to the counter to pay, but the waitress said there was no charge. They couldn’t understand this, so they asked why. 


The waitress said that the man they had spoken to had paid for their meal along with his. As theirs came to £16 (A$30), it was by no means a small amount. Pauline wanted to thank the man, but he had already left. The waitress explained that the man was a regular customer, and once or twice a week, he chose to settle other diners’ bills. But he always leaves before they can thank him, presumably as he doesn’t wish a fuss. How kind is that?


“One can only imagine what a lift it gave the recipients of the gift, and we can be sure that they were probably walking on air for the rest of the day ...”

When we met a few days later, she had heard of an elderly lady who was in the supermarket. When it came to paying for her groceries, she couldn’t remember her card’s PIN. And the more she tried without success, the more flustered she became. Finally, she asked the till operator to put the groceries behind, and she would return once she had gone home to get the PIN. At this, a young woman behind her in the queue offered to pay. At first, the lady declined the offer, but the young woman insisted and paid the £20 (A$38). Again, not an insignificant amount.


One can only imagine what a lift it gave the recipients of the gift, and we can be sure that they were probably walking on air for the rest of the day ... if not the week. And you can be certain that they will have told many people about the stranger’s kindness, for that’s how I heard about it. It is a real way to restore our faith in human nature, in total opposition to the ‘me first’ culture we often meet.


Whether these donors were carrying out random acts of kindness or subscribing to the Pay it Forward movement (rather than paying someone back for their support), we will never know, but for me, I hope it was done as part of their Christian service.


Jesus said, “Ask yourself what you want people to do for you; then grab the initiative and do it for them! If you only love the lovable, do you expect a pat on the back? If you only help those who help you, do you expect a medal? If you only give for what you hope to get out of it, do you think that’s charity? The stingiest of pawnbrokers does that. “I tell you ... help and give without expecting a return. You’ll never – I promise – regret it. Our Father is kind; you be kind.” (Luke 6:31-36 The Message)


We may not be able to afford to pay for someone’s meal or groceries, but we can all do simple acts of kindness. What will you do to brighten someone’s life?


*James Burns is a freelance writer from the Dunstable Salvos in the United Kingdom.


Photo: Nathan Lemon on Unsplash











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