It was a scorching hot Canberra day, and I desperately needed fuel. After pulling into the nearest service station, I filled up, locked the car and went to pay. There was only one problem – I had my toddler and baby in the back seat.
I hate leaving the kids in the car when I go to pay for fuel (I’m actually pretty sure it’s illegal), and I usually try and fill the car up when they’re not with me. But on this occasion I had to fill up or we wouldn’t get home. The other option was to get them both out of the car and take them in with me, but my baby was asleep. There was already a queue of cars behind me waiting to fill up, so I thought it best if I ran in quickly – the queue inside didn’t look that long.
Once inside, I regreted my decision. There were only two other people in front of me, but the customer being served was taking an incredibly long time (choosing the chocolates that would give him an additional $5 off his fuel). The middle-aged man in front of me could see I was getting increasingly anxious as I kept looking at my car, hoping both children were ok. When the customer at the front of the line had finished, the man in front of me said “Please jump in front of me – I can see you have two little ones in the car you need to get back to”.
Normally I hate jumping queues, but on this occasion I gratefully accepted his offer. This small but incredibly kind gesture made my day. Not only had he sensed my tension, he had worked out what the problem was and offered a solution. The only thing it had cost him was time, but that and our health are our most precious resources these days.
I often find myself going about my day ‘blinkered’. I’m ashamed to say I don’t see the person who has dropped their shopping, or the person behind me in the supermarket queue with only one item (when I have a full trolley). I still think of the kindness this man showed me and it reminds me that we should never take these actions for granted, no matter how small.
One small act of kindness could just make someone’s day.
Tuesday 17 February is Random Acts of Kindness Day, so to honour this day we caught up with Karen Chaston from www.karenchaston.com.au, who shares her thoughts on random acts of kindness:
1. What was the last Random Act of Kindness shown to you?
Karen: Almost daily, I get a smile, a nod from total strangers, though the other day, I was at a coffee shop waiting and a lady started chatting to me and then said she would like to pay for my green tea.
2. What was the last Random Act of Kindness you showed someone else?
Karen: Just this morning I was walking back to my car and a teenage school girl was walking to school with her headphones on. I tapped her on the shoulder and asked her if she reads. She said sometimes… I then said if it was a book about how you can have higher self-esteem, value yourself, understand your body bio-chemically and physiologically would you read it. She said yes, so I handed her a copy of my book, with a card and asked her to contact me with any feedback or questions
3. What are the best types of Random Acts of Kindness?
Karen: When you do something randomly – like give a total stranger a compliment, initially they may be taken back and then they’ll thank you saying ‘Wow you have just made my day, it was not going so well up until now!”
4. How do you think we can perform Random Acts of Kindness more frequently? What are some simple Random Act of Kindness we can incorporate into our daily life?
Karen: Smile at a stranger, give them a compliment, ask them how they are feeling, make them laugh, buy them a coffee, give them something, help them out, give a random “heart to heart” hug.
About Karen: Karen Chaston inspires women to become their own best friend, which allows them to be more aware, grateful, healthier, energised and live in Essence. www.karenchaston.com.au
What was the last last random act of kindness you showed or received? We’ love your thoughts – please comment below…