Kindness In A Cruel World

This past week has been an interesting one for us. Usually interesting has taken on a negative meaning, but for some reason there was this amazing collection of wonderful moments this past week. I am a fantastic chronicler of bad stuff. You want a play by play of awful, horrible events? Let me take your hand and escort you to my archives and we can pick a month. Chances are there there will be some event where I have taken great pains to capture every detail. Because I don’t ever want to forget the stuff in my rear view mirror.

But this week I kept noticing moments where things could have been bad. People could could have made choices and it would have domino-ed into my life and upended me. And time and time again when there was a path to do good, do nothing, or do bad people opted to do good. Usually? People do nothing. Almost rarely do they take the time to do good. Sad, but that is the truth. I’m not talking about people like our friends or even people in our internet community. I’m talking about people that you meet, when you are walking down the street, kind of people.

The two most recent examples from this week happened on thursday. Mother had a routine appointment with her primary doctor. I called the office in advance to let them know that we would be self pay so that we could set up a payment plan. Doctor’s offices are notorious for sticking it to people. Especially when it comes to money and the not having of it. I was not expecting Mother’s doctor to be the person to call me back. He suggested that I schedule my Mother’s appointment for a “15 minute follow up” and then he would have more wiggle room with billing.

Wow. I was blown away. Both Mother and I were. She was already a fan of her doctor, but this? Beyond kind.

When we got to the appointment W and I played in the lobby. (He has new Super Grover shoes from his buddies, JenCait, and he is very proud stomping around in them.) Mother finished her appointment and as we were walking to the car she told me that the doctor charged her even less what he said he would. He wanted his patients to continue feeling good about themselves and not be charity cases. He made the point to Mother that he could absorb the cost, but that her health could not.

I get emotional just writing about it because, seriously, people don’t HAVE to be nice. It’s an option in life. People don’t have to look out for other people. But this gesture of good faith, of kindness, of humanity – it is the stuff that keeps us alive.

After the doctor’s office we went over to L’s house as Mother was going to watch the boys while we ran some exciting business errands. (Side note: our business cards came in this week and there isn’t much more thrilling than seeing your business cards for the first time!) Then we all went to the mall so that the boys could run free in the indoor play area and then I could get a new power cord for my laptop.

On Wednesday the power cord – the end that connects to the laptop- literally snapped and sizzled. Not such a great thing to happen when you are in the middle of tons of open projects. I couldn’t wait to order online so to the apple store we went. I purchased a new cord and, well, it looked funny. Being the practical gal that I am I plopped down on the floor of the apple store and opened the box and hooked it up to my computer to make sure that it would work and wouldn’t you know- it didn’t.

Turns out I needed an older kind of power cord- a kind that this store didn’t often have in stock. Special order only.

You will be impressed that I didn’t cry. I promise that I didn’t. My bottom lip might have quivered though. And I sighed deeply and asked what they thought I should do. I explained that I had JUST started a web design company with a friend and I gestured to L across the store as she and Mother tried to keep V and W from attacking the iPads.

The manager of the store was listening to me as I explained my situation to the sales clerk, which was really just me being a sad sack, because they didn’t have the power cord in stock, so clearly I was THAT customer just having a moment. The manager interjected with a, “let me just check in the back, ok?” The sales clerk and I both looked at each other with confusion and I stepped aside to let the next customer be helped.

Across the store Mother and L gestured at me, “What the fark? Can we GOOOOO???” I sort of shrugged and nodded my head towards the back room and raised my eyebrows and totally confused them both.

A few minutes later the manager returned and pulled me aside and handed me a power cord. It was old and well used and flecked with what might have been crayon. He said, “This was in the back not being used. Take it.” It took me a moment to get it. I am thick on all accounts. I asked how much I owed and he said nothing. All he asked was that I make an appointment with the genius bar to come in and bring in my damaged power cord.

So I hugged him, couldn’t help myself. I hugged the sales clerk too. Kindness gets a hug.

It’s these kind of people, the white knights on the chess board of my life, that help move this game forward. They help empower my family, remind us that we are worth something, worth kindness.

The interview call with the Northeast job went well. It was with a super bigwig who was basically figuring out who he wants to meet in the next round of interviews. Yup, possibly more interviews. Mom jived well with the guy on the phone and feels optimistic. Now we hope that someone calls her back for ANOTHER interview.

I am hoping that this month is the month that pushes us forward. It’s my Grandfather’s birthday month, my Grandmother’s death month, and W’s 1/2 birthday month. Twice we have made BIG moves in the month of October and it was a good month for it.

I say this every month and I will say it now-Universe: I am ready for the next chapter, please. Also? Thank you for the kindnesses that have been put into my life, those that have been seen and those that I may never know about but were there just the same.

Comments

  1. says

    oh, this post made me smile. i’m so, so glad these small kindnesses are brightening your days and i am fervently hoping they are the sign of more — and bigger — good things to come!

  2. says

    This made me smile and added a little bit of fuel to my reserves. I think it’s wonderful that some good things happened to you for you a change. I also applaud you that you still have the ability to recognize them when they happen. When life $h!ts on you, you become jaded. Sometimes so jaded that you lose the ability to see the good things. You haven’t lost that and I hope you never do. There is goodness in the world – sometimes we all just need to be reminded of it.

  3. Lisa says

    Love both stories! And crossing everything hoping that this job is the right fit for your mom!

    A few years ago some person in a parking garage opened their car door into my (black) car only a couple of weeks after I bought it, and left a white smear of paint and a dent. I took the car in to the dealership b/c it had an issue covered by warranty, and I mentioned the paint smear to the dealership guy, asking him how much it would cost. He answered, “Five minutes.” I was like, “Thanks, but how much will it cost?” And he again repeated, “Five minutes.” Finally I got it that he was going to take care of the paint smear for free. It was so nice, and unexpected. There’s also the (several) times in my early 20s when my I had a leaky tire and a nice gentleman at a gas station would help me fill it up with air. (I did finally learn how to do it myself after a few times.) Or the time that a random stranger at Universal Studios changed my tire for me after it exploded on the freeway. Those are the best moments because it really inspires you to do the right thing the next time you have an opportunity to help a stranger.

  4. says

    I love moments like that. It erases my cynicism for a while and I feel renewed because you’re right… no one HAS to be kind. It is a choice and it is so nice to hear that someone chose to be nice and that you were the recipient. :) Thanks for sharing.

  5. says

    it is so nice to hear stories like this. there ARE nice people in the world still – and you deserved the nice-ness!

    Also, I totally agree that being nice is a choice. I choose to be kind and smile at everyone. I wish everyone else did too.

  6. says

    I love random acts of kindness, almost as much as I love the image of you hugging the salesclerk at the Apple store.

    Also, October is my birthday month, so I have the authority to command the Universe to throw some sparkle your way.

  7. says

    Best thing in my life came about in October…my daughter.

    Wonderful stories. I’m hoping nothing but good comes your way…and that there are no more interviews, just a fantastic job offer.

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