Linda Eterno, VTLO Consultant, guest blogs about her experience with 26 Acts of Kindness.
Kindness is contagious. That was the thinking behind NBC correspondent Ann Curry’s 26 Acts of Kindness movement, which went viral in 2012 in the wake of the tragic school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut. I took up Curry’s call to action and committed to one random act of kindness for each of the 26 victims. After a few short weeks of doing good deeds and inspiring others to pass it on, I quickly lost count. Random acts of kindness had become a way of life for me.
In the name of #26Acts, I have made a conscious effort to volunteer my time more often and found several organizations that needed my help. I have let countless people go ahead of me in line at Target, at the supermarket or at the bank. I bought lunch for a woman in the bagel store who realized she had forgotten her wallet after she ordered. I bought coffee for a stranger at Dunkin’ Donuts because I wanted to make the coldest day of the year just a little bit warmer. I have complimented cashiers and gone out of my way to let their managers know about a job well done.
During the last year, I have performed many simple acts of selflessness in the name of making the world a better place. There is, however, one deed that stands out from all the others. I was at Fairway when an employee got in line behind me. He was going to lunch and only had a drink in hand. Since the cashier had started ringing, I asked her to include the drink with my order so that he could go on his break and not have to wait. I later found out that the recipient of my random act of kindness was the type of guy who would do anything to help others and never asked for anything in return. I was glad that I had the opportunity to do something nice for him.
Curry said, “If you do good, you will feel good.” She was right. Goodwill does more than brighten the day of those on the receiving end. It feels good to be on the giving end too.
This week, while watching the Olympics, I witnessed the most unlikely random act of kindness. After Russian cross-country skier Anton Gafarov fell, he got up and struggled to complete the race on a broken ski. A rival coach from the Canadian team ran onto the course and swapped out the broken ski for a new one. The story was picked up by news media around the world. Yes, kindness really is contagious.