Tag Archives: Kindness

Random Acts of Kindness or Who Peed In Your Cocoa Puffs?

25 Sep

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In case you missed it, I was recently in the Philadelphia on business. In keeping with the spirit of The City of Brotherly Love, I decided to do a random act of kindness each day i wads there. Read part one at It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia

Friday – Day 4

Today was a challenge for my random act of kindness commitment. I believe it’s because I was so busy taking care of the people I was being paid to take care of that I kept overlooking other opportunities. I’m not happy about this but vow to do better in the future..

Luckily, one of the people I was being paid to take care of decided to do her own RAoK which I witnessed. You see, we took our group out for a fancy dinner. Despite having 8:30 reservations, the restaurant thought it just fine to seat our group at various tables as they became available, with the first seated at 9:00 and the last seated at 9:30. This was one of those ‘we’re really cool and you’re just lucky we let you in’ restaurants.

After most finished and began gathering outside, we were assisting them with working out plan for the rest of their night when Ashley, one of our guests ran back inside as she had forgotten the ‘Doggie Bag’ she had asked for her leftovers to be packed in (I’m sure this snobby restaurant loved this). When she exited with the bag, she walked over to the homeless man sitting at the corner and offered it to him, which he gratefully accepted. When she explained that it was filet mignon and lobster, his face lit up like a child trying his first taste of sugar. He thanked her over and over. She went back to him a few minutes later and gave him some money to buy a drink to wash it down with.

Myself and much of the group witnessed this RAoK and, it not only made the man’s day, it made our day. One RAoK can cheer many people.

Saturday – Day 5

I decide to concentrate on completing today’s random act of kindness early to be sure I actually get it done. I’m was a bit concerned that I might complete it and then have another opportunity present later. It turns out there’s no rule against doing more than one RAoK per day. With my mind at ease, I start looking for opportunities.

I start working early and, at about 10:00am have a chance to take a break. I choose to walk around the streets of Philadelphia and enjoy some sunshine and people watching. As I stroll through the Arts District I seemed to forget that I’m no longer working for Disney and am not required to smile and greet each and every person. I begin to feel as if downtown Philly may have run out of coffee as most people respond to my friendly greeting by averting their eyes as if I’ve escaped from a zombie movie. I know this look as this is exactly how I am before I’ve had my morning cup of joy. Whether it’s a coffee shortage or people are scared of me I’m not sure, but I decid to tone down the cheer. That is, until I come upon a convenience store and the RAoK lightbulb lights up. I wander in and come upon a rack of Pepperidge Farm Cookies. Who doesn’t feel special when eating these fancy cookies that seem as if you should be eating them while drinking a cup of tea out of fine china with your pinky finger sticking up (I’m pretty sure Queen Elizabeth serves these)? As I have no tea, I decide to go for the least fancy of the Pepperidge Farm Cookies, the chocolate chip macadamia ones.

After my purchase I walk back down the street greeting people (apparently you can take the girl out of Disney but you can’t take Disney out of the girl) and offering cookies. The first man I come upon had a cup of coffee but appears to not have a home. I ask if he would like a cookie to go with his coffee and he smiles and gratefully says yes. I offer cookies to a couple of others who politely declined (apparently I’m not the only one who isn’t eating sugar these days). The man sitting on the steps of a church listening to music decides to partake as do some others I pass. Still, many politely decline.

Soon I come upon the man I will call Mr. Nasty. Mr. Nasty is standing on the corner waiting for the light to change. I approach him and tell him that today is my random act of kindness day and offer a delicious cookie. The man gives an abrupt, “No,” and then continues on to say, “furthermore, this is not an act of kindness and you need to do better!” I’m stunned. I stand there with my mouth open deciding what to respond. I can’t let him bring me down that easily. As I begin to cross the street in the other direction I respond, “Have a nice day!” As I continue walking away he proceeds to yell at me. I can’t even remember what he said as I’m so stunned and upset by this that his exact words don’t register. I admit to losing my good attitude and yelling back at him that, indeed, “There is evil in the world.” I find it slightly ironic that this was World Peace Day.

I continue on, attempting to give away more cookies. One or two more people accept while most politely decline. I return to the hotel and give the remainder of my cookies to my coworkers and my favorite front desk agent who are very appreciative.

While I understand that, despite my curly, red hair and honest face, some people might have concerns about accepting food from strangers, and I have no problem when they politely declined, I was truly was shocked by Mr. DI. Apparently you can only distribute cookies if you charge for them and wear a ridiculous green dress with a sash.

Sunday – Day 6

Today is my final day in The City of Brotherly Love. The beautiful Hotel Palomar, which has been my home away from home, is part of the Kimpton chain. As I joined their club (I feel like one of the cool kids in the cafeteria), they gave me a $10 credit to “invade the minibar.” Due to my never-ending work schedule I was rarely in my room and hadn’t taken advantage of my gift. This morning I sift through the options and find a bag of individually wrapped Snickers bars for the low, low price of $10. Score! I grab the bag and head down to work.

This being departure day for my group, I spend most of the morning in front of the hotel getting them in cars to take them to the airport or their homes. While standing at the entrance I decide to distribute my Snickers bars to the hard-working bellmen and doormen before going and offering the final pieces to the front desk crew.

This brings to an end my concentrated week of Random Acts of Kindness. I’ve learned a few things:

First, many people will not accept food from strangers, even if they’re the fancy kind presented to you by an honest-looking redhead. Still, there are polite ways of refusing.

Second, one flower (or some chocolate) can truly brighten someone’s day.

Third, this was more challenging than I anticipated. I truly thought that since I try to do random good deeds when the opportunity strikes, committing to doing them on a daily basis wouldn’t be a big deal. I was wrong. And while I may not do them daily, hopefully this has made me more aware of the opportunities to brighten someone’s day.

Lastly, people are sometimes hesitant to accept that a random act of kindness is just that. No catches, no strings, simply kindness. After talking to a couple of friends about Mr. Nasty, they told me their stories of other people they knew who had experienced similar challenges when just trying to do something nice. When this happens, I can understand why people choose not to be kind for fear that someone will think there is an ulterior motive and therefore, treat them poorly. Be kind anyway. That is their problem, not yours.

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On a Wing and a Prayer

1 Jun

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Perhaps you’ve noticed that I’ve been away (well, I hope you have). Yes I was doing that Workin’ for a Living thing. I was definitely not working 9 – 5 nor was I working on the Chain Gang. Then I started my vacation and I was workin’ out (note to self – contrary to popular belief, calories do count even while at sea). After that I was workin’ it out (and by that I mean my vacation plans). And that takes me to where I am now. Sitting in seat 10A at 33,000 feet.

Everyone asks me where I go on vacation. My usual answer is home (as now that I saved my house, I never seem to be there). Well, this time I’ve done something different. It’s time for an adventure. Today’s adventure, brought to you courtesy of my birthday, is a trip to England and New York.

It’s impossible to plan a vacation while I’m on board the ship due to the ridiculous amount of hours I work and the Internet that’s slower than dial up (and by that I mean if dial up used an old rotary dial phone – man, if somebody had a couple of 9’s in their number you just didn’t even bother calling). I had to wait until I was on vacation to plan my vacation. When I looked at the airfares I was blown away. Between business trips and using frequent flyer miles I didn’t realize that airfares cost as much as a new car. Luckily I have friends in high places. And by that I mean literally, as my friend is a pilot (can you say Guest Pass?). Here’s the adventure part. For the small price of $679 I am flying stand-by. What could go wrong?

I arrive at the airport at 7:00am, 2 hours ahead of my (hopefully) scheduled flight. My first flight of this adventure was the only one I thought might be a problem. Still with 5 available seats, I’m listed as 2nd in line on the stand-by list. That is until the airline decides to send a plane that seats 150 people instead of the scheduled one with 190 seats. They are actually looking for 27 people to volunteer to take later flights. No worries as, smart traveler that I am, I booked this flight knowing there were 2 other flights that would get me to Philly to get my connection. Unfortunately, even Steven Hawking couldn’t make the numbers work with that first flight bumping so many.

Please understand, I realize that flying stand-by is a risk. I was prepared for an adventure. When I took theatre classes in school they taught us the first rule of improvisation – say yes to everything. Improv, after all, is an adventure. I figured that whatever happened was meant to. I once read a quote that said, “Life can be as simple as falling.” I’m really good at falling so life should be a breeze.

So, with the first flight being so messed up, it’s now seemingly affected every flight of the day. I call my friend to ask her if she can pick me up from the airport if my great adventure simply ends up being an adventure going through airport security all the way to gate B15 and gate A32 (nice, but I think I overpacked). So, here I am, standing at the gate after finding out I’m 12th on the stand-by list. Hhhhmmm, not lookin” so good. I flirt with a pilot hoping he can use some pull to get me in a jump seat. No go. Must be gay. The gate agents are announcing names of people missing. I internally shush them and tell them they shouldn’t look so hard for these folks (yes, I’m going to hell).

There are 6 of us standing at the counter anxiously waiting for them to cancel the missing people’s seats. The agents say they have 3 or 4 seats depending on if the guy standing to the side gets on the flight. He says he’s deciding (what the $&@#?).

Then the most amazing thing happens – a woman approaches me and says that she is also flying stand-by and, if her name is called, I can have her seat. Wait, what? Surely I must have heard wrong. This being an adventure I have vowed not to get upset (read cry) if things don’t work out as planned. But really, what? I find myself crying. I don’t believe I’m crying because I got on the flight (shallow as I might be at times). I cry because you don’t often see kind gestures like this. I thank her and hug her. And yes, I am sitting in seat 10A and she is sitting in Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport.

I’m not sure if I should offer her some money or if that would be insulting (maybe some lunch money would have been nice). I suddenly feel the need to justify to her that she’s done a good deed for someone who not only appreciates it immensely, but, who will pay it forward (uh oh, I think we know where this may be going). So I give her my card and direct her to the Rebel-With-A-Cause.org site. I ask her name and, although she tells me, I’m so overcome that it doesn’t register. I think she would understand, as I do, that it’s not important that people remember your name, but that they remember your deeds.

So, this is the beginning of an Adventure (yeh, with a capital “A”). I’ll put away the iPad now (uh-huh, I caved and bought one) as we’re getting ready to land and, apparently if I leave it on I will cause a blackout in Tokyo or something. Oh, I just let the girl next to me in the middle seat use my pillow (a small start on the paying it forward thing). Stay tuned.

Read on in “Who Are the People in Your Neighborhood?”

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