Wednesday, August 25, 2010


Leanne wrote a really great post last night (if you haven’t read it yet, hop over to From Chaos Comes Happiness). As I read her post, I thought, “What a great act of kindness.” And then I started asking myself if I had been kind or exhibited an act of kindness to anyone recently. Here is my story.

For the first time in my life, I find myself unemployed (oh boy – what a topic – for another time). Anyway, a couple of weeks ago I had to go to my local unemployment office to handle some paperwork. As I drove around the unfamiliar area, the only parking I could find was metered street parking, a couple of blocks from the office. I started to panic wondering if I had any quarters for the old-fashioned meter box (which would only accept quarters).  Luckily, I found some quarters in my car and wallet. So I parked and went in to the office (actually stood in line outside the office with a gazillion other people). As I patiently waited my turn, I saw a young 20-something guy come in. Clean-cut, all-American type of guy. He looked lost (and maybe just a little scared) and I’m guessing this was his first time at the unemployment office too. I watched him ask a thousand questions to the clerk on what to do in order to file for unemployment, and then, my name was called and off I went to conduct my own unemployment business.

As I walked back to the car after finishing my business, I heard running footsteps behind me. I thought, I hope no one is chasing me – I can’t run with my wobbly knees! Suddenly, I heard a voice shout out, “Excuse me, Ma’am! Excuse me!” (Side note – don’t you hate being called “Ma’am”? Ma’am is for my mother – I still prefer “Miss”!) So I stopped and turned around. Running from behind me is the All-American guy. As he was running towards me, he shouts, “Do you have any change for a dollar?” Change for a dollar?  Did I hear right?  Then it hit me – the poor guy needed change for a parking meter.  He must not have finished his unemployment business and needed to feed the parking meter and go back to the office.  He was probably running in order to get to his car in time before he received a parking ticket. (The last thing someone needs when they are unemployed is an unexpected bill, like a parking ticket.) So, I quickly dug in my pocket and pulled out the one last coin I had – a quarter. With that, the All-American guy catches up to me.  He was slightly out of breath from running and had a slight look of panic on his face. I asked him, “Do you need it for parking?” And he replied, “Yes.” I then said, “I’m sorry, I used all my quarters for parking too, but I do have one quarter left. Take it. It’s yours.” The All-American guy looked at me, and he seemed genuinely surprised that I was giving him a quarter. Right there and then the expression on his face changed from panic to relief.  With that, he said with much sincerity, “Oh Thank you! Thank You!”  He then flashed a big grin, and proceeded to run off to his car.

I never saw how far the All-American guy ran or where he parked his car. I smiled to myself as I got in my car, feeling good to help out this stranger, hoping that my small quarter saved him from a parking ticket and made an otherwise crumby day at the unemployment office a little better for him. 

I know that we all have our own stories of kindness, but sometimes we get caught up in the rat-race of our busy lives or we just go on "automatic pilot" and we forget some of the simple things, like being kind.  I know I do.  So whether it is a cake for a neighbor (remember Leanne’s post)…. or a quarter… or a smile… or a please or thank you (said with meaning!), any act of kindness to a family member, a co-worker, or a friend, or a complete stranger, can go a long way.

Be kind.


  1. Really great story, and reminder, on Kindness, LT! I am certain he considered you a bit of a saving grace to his rather uncomfortable and stressful day. Excellent job!!!!

  2. That's a really excellent story!! Great example of being thoughtful!

  3. That is AWESOME! I so believe in karma , and you created it! I have seen it work. When we were out and about in a small town , metered parking of course, not much change on us, we pulled into a spot with a full meter...a gent had just pulled out. So when we left , we now had change and we filled up the meter for the next person. So a couple of weeks later, I go in to the chevron for my daily coffee, and they have a stamp card, buy 5 get 1 free....I was at 4...the lady stamped the card and took it as well and gave me my free coffee...then she did it again this week, I was on 3 and she double stamped it and said "you are good" . We never exchange more than a "Good Morning" and she is always rather grumpy and abrupt, but I always say it and smile and tell her to have a great day....I guess this is her way of paying me back for the effort.

    I am getting ready to create new Karma from kindness, though this is NOT why I do it. I do not expect anything to happen , but if it does I am grateful. My youngest is moving out and her roomies, a young man out of the military recently and his young wife, and my daughters boyfriend, they all have nothing to feather a nest. So I have promptly taken down all my pictures and collected all my decor items that I can part with from my living room and I am helping to feather their nest. They loved my teal blue /Asian decor and so since I was wanting to change our apartments LR space to a new look and was just going to use some of the items in my bedroom from the LR, it seems perfect to help them out. My space is very blank right now, but my heart is full.

  4. What a very kind person you are! You remind me of someone....oh remind me of your wonderful sister Leanne!!

    Lovely post I think I'm going to follow you, hope you don't mind!

  5. RAK!! Random Acts of Kindness!! Pay it Forward! I love that stuff.
    There was a blog I would visit occasionally (OMG, can't remember which one it was) where the blogger had this idea for her 37th birthday. She asked people to celebrate with her by going out and doing 37 random acts of kindness. Isn't that just the neatest!?!?!!
    Glad you made someone's day, LT. And so are they!


  7. It is amazing how a little kindness can have a such a powerful effect on ourselfs. Why more of us don't do it more offten, I don't know. Great post.

  8. Laura, what a great post. Your such a sweet lady humm reminds me of someone that lives next door to me.


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