Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Little kindnesses

Holy cats, it’s been a long time! I really should be studying for my Catering exam tomorrow (would anyone have predicted that Catering would be this semester’s Econ? Nope, didn’t think so.) but Boston got me thinking. Well, several lovely reactions to Boston got me thinking.

Jen said, “Rather than lamenting the evil that happens every minute in every part of the world, remind yourself that humans are intrinsically good.”

Patton Oswalt said, “So when you spot violence, or bigotry, or intolerance or fear or just garden-variety misogyny, hatred or ignorance, just look it in the eye and think, 'The good outnumber you, and we always will.'"

I think it’s mostly about the little things. I can’t change the world but I can make an impact on my little piece of it.

Like this:

A couple of days ago, on an almost-whim, I stopped at a Walgreen’s to see what they have in the way of makeup mirrors. (The frame/stand of mine broke a few weeks ago and I am finding it exceedingly difficult to find an acceptable replacement.) Walking through the store, I noticed a small boy with dark hair walking in one direction around a corner and down an aisle and a young woman with dark hair walking in a different direction, then around a corner and down a different aisle. She was clearly looking for someone and he looked lost.

I said to him, “Are you looking for your mom?” He just looked at me with great big eyes. The woman, whom I assumed to be his mom, started back toward where we were standing and I called out to her, “He’s over here.” She hurried over, saw him, gave me a harried, relieved “thank you” then scolded him for not staying with her and they walked away together.

It was nothing. It was, oh, maybe 30 seconds of my life. But I reunited a boy and his worried (or maybe just frustrated) mom faster than they would have found each other without me. It felt good to help them.

It was a tiny, little thing. I didn’t do it for me but it made me feel good for the rest of the day. Well, clearly it still makes me feel good since I’m writing about it two days later. More importantly, I made a tiny little impact on that mother and son.

Maybe you think this is a silly thing to write about, especially after the bombings in Boston. Maybe it is a silly thing to be proud of. But it’s these little things I know I can do so I will keep on doing them.

Mahatma Gandhi said, “Be the change that you wish to see in the world.” That’s what I’m trying to do. It’s my way of fighting back.


  1. It's not a silly little thing at all. A decade ago (when my youngest was little and prone to running off), I would have been that worried mother and I would have been VERY grateful to you.

  2. It is a little thing, but ultimately a BIG thing each time we reach out to help our fellow humans.
    The fact that you did this doesn't surprise me AT ALL, Violet.

  3. Go, you! I've been that mom -- it's a BIG kind nice thing!

    I always told my kids to "Be the better person" and I told it to the students when I worked as an aide at the school. Be the nicer, kinder one. Pick up the trash even if it isn't yours. Help the one who's struggling. And so on. These small moments of kindness and humanity add up and make the world a better place.