As someone who is fascinated by acts of kindness, I understand why we can sometimes be so quick to discredit how impactful a simple act of love can be. If it's easy for us to do, we assume it's not necessarily as important or impactful to the recipient as, say, a $100 donation. But the truth is, we don't really have any idea how big of a deal the smallest gesture means to the person on the other side of the equation.
I've heard from hundreds of people who are the recipients of these seemingly innocuous acts and the impact that single moment makes in a person's life is often incalcuable.
Here are some actual accounts from a few people who have contacted The Birthday Project about being the recipient of a stranger's kindness:
- The lady you let use your discount card at the grocery? Her husband just lost his job and money is tighter than it's ever been for their family.
- The elderly woman you gave your 25% off coupon to while she scrounged for her purse at the department store was buying an outfit to wear to her precious husband's funeral.
- The military service man whose lunch you paid for today recently returned from a year overseas and is struggling to get through most days as he battles PTSD.
- The young mother you offered your place to in line at the grocery store because her baby was crying has been feeling like she's been hanging on by a thread lately.
- The little boy you gave a balloon to at the park? His grandma just passed away and her favorite color was blue....just like the balloon he's now holding and will later be able to let go of and watch float up to the clouds with a smile.
You guys, these are REAL stories, and just a handful of the countless reports I've collected of a simple act of kindness at just the right moment in time. The only thing that's "not a big deal" about any of them is how simple the act itself was to do on the part of the giver.
The recipient, however, was impacted in very big ways, often for a lifetime.
That's a REALLY big deal.