Choose Kindness

Kindness community blog By Kathleen Federici, MEd

I witnessed an act of kindness about three weeks ago that has stuck with me. Kindness is everywhere. Sometimes, the act is so small we don’t allow ourselves to acknowledge it. Sometimes, the act is so large, we can’t allow ourselves to forget it.

With our world in crisis, kindness matters now more than ever.

In a past job, I had a company car and was required to take a defensive driving course every year. Three weeks ago, I was driving along my one lane, no passing zone road that connects the three townships that make up my city and all of a sudden this driver flew up the Pike and got so close to my bumper, I was actually nervous. My kids were in the car, and I just kept thinking, what the heck is this person doing? Is he going to hit me? The car was on my bumper for about a half-mile, which seemed like forever. We came to a red light and the driver quickly maneuvered around my car into a left turn lane, jumped out of his car, and ran to the car in front of me. And I kept thinking, what the heck is going on?

Of course, I turned off my radio and clicked my window down so I could hear the exchange. It turned out the person in the car in front of me left her cell phone in the store she had just visited. The on-my-bumper driver was a store employee who saw her leave the phone on the counter. Evidently, he desperately tried to catch her attention but she got into her car and left too quickly. So he grabbed his keys and chased her down to return her phone. Now, don’t get me wrong, I would have been more comfortable with less of a movie-style car chase, but to go that far to bring a customer back their phone was not something I have never witnessed before. It left me with a good impression of customer service and going that extra mile. The customer and employee did not know each other.

Kindness.org has a mission to educate and inspire people to choose kindness. Their research team, in collaboration with researchers at Harvard University, spent the past several months compiling a list of more than 1,000 acts of kindness. When COVID-19 brought our world to a halt, kindness.org saw an opportunity – and felt a responsibility – to investigate what kind acts are most effective now, in the middle of this crisis. The results are:

  1. Wash your hands.
  2. Take care of a family member who is sick.
  3. Cover your mouth when you cough.
  4. Make a donation to people hit especially hard by the economic shutdown.
  5. Cook a nutritious and delicious meal to share with your family.
  6. Buy groceries for someone.
  7. Arrange video visits with elderly relatives.
  8. Video call your parents, grandparents.
  9. Get groceries and other essentials for a neighbor.
  10. Tell a child what you’re proud of them for.

Let’s all work together to make the world a kinder place.

Kathleen Fedrici, MEd, is IPMI’s director of professional development.