Acts of kindness

So there I was, driving around the parking lot of a local big box store on a busy Sunday afternoon, looking for a parking place. But it wasn’t happening. All the spaces were occupied. There were plenty of pedestrians, too, of course, busy shoppers walking from their vehicles to the store or from it with their loaded shopping carts.

And then one of those shoppers stepped out into the middle of the alleyway where I was driving and motioned to me. For just a brief moment, I was a little apprehensive, wondering if something was wrong with my vehicle, perhaps. Or maybe he had trouble of some kind. So I rolled down my car window as we got closer as he came over.

“I’ve got a spot over here!” he said. “It’s right up in the front row, too.” And away he went, quickly climbing into his van that was sitting there running. He backed out, I pulled in, and there we were all settled in what I like to call the front pew in the store parking lot.

It could have been my white-haired passenger that he saw through the front windshield and wanted to help, but I still haven’t figured out just why this kindly older man wanted to help me secure a parking place on that busy Sunday shopping day.

Or perhaps it was it a random act of kindness, something that’s thankfully becoming rather commonplace in our busy culture. Random acts of kindness are defined as selfless acts performed by people wishing to either assist or cheer up an individual, according to a source I checked. It’s an attempt to brighten the day of another. Know it or not, we’ve likely all been on the receiving end of an act of kindness or two.

One example of a random act of kindness is someone who pays the bill for the car behind them in the drive-up window at a fast food restaurant. Or puts a little gift, unannounced, on the desk of a co-worker.

During the past year or so I’ve been blessed with many acts of kindness directed to me. Sometimes it was as simple as a strong hug and a smile, but there were hang-in-there emails, thinking-of-you cards, drop-in visits, and occasional phone calls, too. Everything filled me up.

Since I like to write and use the postal service, some years back I made it my goal to send a note in the mail to one person per week. My first target was people I knew who were in a nursing home. Although I did that for quite some time, I never received any feedback I ever received any feedback on my efforts. But that was okay. I suppose that’s the point of random acts of kindness.

Like the man who saved a prime parking spot for me.