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Random acts of kindness bring love into hurting world


by Grace S. Kim

LW contributor

When I was teaching at Davis Senior High School (1972-1996) “random acts of kindness” were happening everywhere. We all tried to be kind to one another.

I recently had lunch with four of my good friends at Hof ’s Hut in Seal Beach. We were chatting, laughing, enjoying our lunch and delighting in our time together.

A young gentleman passed by our table and said, “Have a wonderful day!” One of my friends smiled at him and said, “Same to you.”

After lunch, we were ready to leave. My friend asked the waitress for the bill. The waitress told us that a gentleman had already paid for this table and that he had just left.

We were so surprised at this unexpected gesture of kindness and generosity.

I asked the waitress whether she knew his name and if he was a regular customer. She said he is one of their frequent guests. I asked her to please tell him how surprised and deeply moved we were by his uncommon kindness and generosity and that we are truly grateful.

It was such a heartwarming experience.

This unexpected delightful experience made us decide that we, too, will start doing the same thing the next time we go to a restaurant. This is what random acts of kindness are about—I wish we all could live with this kind, compassionate and beautiful heart toward one another, regardless of who they may be.

When I lived in Northern California, I often attended committee meetings for Presbyterian Church, USA, in San Francisco. One day I was driving through the toll gate and had my money ready to pay. The toll taker smiled and said that the driver in front of me had already paid for me.

I was naturally surprised at the person’s kind act, kindness he did not even expect to be thanked for. I was deeply touched.

After the experience, I often remembered and celebrated his kindness by paying the toll for the car behind me.

That is the rewarding essence of such random acts of kindness: Celebration of who we are!

Now, we are living in unprecendented times, with a climate crisis, the darkness of the COVID- 19 pandemic, the uncertainty of economic recovery, floods, wildfires all over the globe, earthquakes, a politically divided country, racism and hate crimes against “the others,” including Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders; violence and mass shootings, sexual crimes, domestic violence, growing homelessness, the crisis in Afghanistan, conflicts with Taliban, Al-Qaeda, Isis. . . and the list keeps growing.

I often struggle with the sense of helplessness. I have to hang on to the goodness of humanity and hope for a better future for us and our future generations.

Although we don’t always have choices in every issue and crisis, I am grateful that we always have one choice, the choice to do small things from our hearts, to show our love, care and encouragement to our fellow human family.

Random acts of kindness— their effect may not be so small.

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