An Italian-American living la dolce vita in the Deep South

An Italian-American living la dolce vita in the Deep South

Friday, November 30, 2012

The Kindness Challenge

1- The inspiration for this post.

Thanksgiving week I came across a book called One Good Deed a Day. Basically, it's a journal with daily ideas for doing something kind. As I stood there flipping the pages and reading the different entries, I was reminded that being good, or kind, or thoughtful sometimes requires purposeful intention. I bought the book, and ...

2- ... came across this story. Tissues, anyone?

A tourist took this photo of NYC policeman, Larry DePrimo, presenting thermal socks and all-weather boots to a homeless man in Times Square. Then he knelt and helped the man put them on. You can read the entire story here.

3- Which reminded me of an airline ticket agent.

Once, after spending a couple of weeks with us, we drove Sr. Gaudiosa to the airport and, as we were helping her check in, the agent said that both suitcases were overweight and she would have to pay extra. It was a pretty hefty fine.

I looked at the agent and said, "Everything she owns in this world is in these two suitcases."

And I knew what I was talking about because I had helped her pack them: her habits made from thick, blue material, her black shoes, and some toiletries. That's about it.

The agent didn't say anything, and my husband got out his wallet to pay the fine.

Except there wasn't one.

When the agent took the suitcases he said, "Don't worry, I'll take care of it. Have a safe flight, Sister."

And he smiled.

Sr. Gaudiosa

4- And let's talk about the kindness of strangers.

Once upon a time a stranger stopped to help me after I had a car accident. He called 911 for me, and stayed with me until the police arrived. Later, he returned with some cold Diet Cokes for me and some Oreo cookies and juice boxes for my son. His name was Chaz, and a couple of years later I heard he had passed away. Here's the letter I wrote his family.

5- An anonymous gift.

During my second year teaching high school in a rough neighborhood I had to be present at a parent conference held in the principal's office. It wasn't one of my students, but I had witnessed an incident and had to be there. It was ugly, the parents were hateful, and I left in tears. I was both frustrated and disillusioned.

The next morning I got to school and on my desk was a beautiful flower arrangement in a ceramic vase designed to look like stacked books. There was a lovely, encouraging note ... unsigned. I never found out who sent them.

6- Little things make a huge difference.

The sales clerk who gave me the sale price when I didn't have a coupon; our neighbor who picked up our newspapers when we were out of town; the thank you note with the Starbucks gift card I received for a small favor; a new friend in my Body Pump class who set up my step and weights for me in my usual spot; the stranger who complimented my outfit; the young man at a carnival who won a prize and gave it to our son who didn't win.

 It goes on and on.

7- Now it's your turn ...

~Forgive someone.
~Strike up a conversation.
~Be happy for someone.
~Compliment a complete stranger.
~Be the first to apologize.
~Make art.
~Stop obsessing.
~Withhold judgement.
~Let it go.
~Befriend someone new.

*Now, go visit Jen at Conversion Diary. She's kind enough to host this event every Friday.


Lisa said...

This post made my day. It was a kindness, itself. ;0)

Ellen aka Ellie said...


No act of kindness is ever random, either. We must be purposeful in our actions, always.

tiziana said...

Ho provato grande gioia leggendo questo blog che mi ha insegnato tante cose. Ogni piccolo o grande gesto, se fatto con amore, apre il cuore delle persone e dà gioia vera.
Grazie Maria.

Kathleen Basi said...

Oh, Maria, this is so beautiful. What a great set of thoughts to share with us in this season. I'm sharing this post.