Do you smile at strangers?
I’m serious. A little kindness goes a long way and recently I have been learning about the impact of such bright moments…
I found myself on the train again last week making another trip into London and back. The journey was fairly busy yet unusually peaceful. However at our second stop, a lady boarded and made her way down the carriage, squinting as if unable to read the seat numbers. Instantly I very politely asked which seat she was looking for, pointing the way and offering to lift her heavy bag onto the overhead luggage holder, all whilst smiling…
Only to be rudely snapped at.
Contrasting this, as I was getting off the train, a foreign student struggled to retrieve her 2 large suitcases from the luggage rack and then ended up fighting to keep hold of them as the train jostled onward. Without a word I grabbed one of them for her – this requiring little effort. With a relieved smile she managed to find the words, “thank you.”
In such a graceful moment, I was able to see how differently this girl engaged with me, compared to the lady in her seat. It seems to me that the first lady had had a long day. Perhaps some would say that my efforts failed or my kindness was rejected, but if such a cold response was obtained, then surely my kindness shone brighter and lit up like a hot flame.
Similarly, despite the language boundary, by simply being aware of a current need and helping to provide it, kindness allowed grace to break such a barrier.
These two examples both demonstrate the response towards kindness challenging us to welcome such efforts whilst also indicating ways in which minute actions can seriously change the world.
Besides these, in efforts to be more positive I have been learning so much regarding random kindness. Recently I have been blessed to see how small things really count when they come from the heart: smiling at strangers; stopping to pick up the child that fell; saying good morning; paying for the coffee after you; giving directions; honestly answering questions; carrying somebody’s bags… The list is endless…
Whether your efforts are accepted with gratitude or rudely rejected, may you come to know how greatly you are lighting up those whom you serve. I encourage you to be distinctive in all that you do – starting with a little kindness.
Will you smile at strangers?