by Kyla Barcus, public relations manager, UCRE
“Do something wonderful, people may imitate it.” ~ Albert Schweitzer
February 14 -21 is National Random Acts of Kindness week. No matter how big or small, your acts of kindness can change lives and create a chain reaction to spread even more generosity throughout your community. Join us this week as we pledge to make a difference through random acts of kindness. Please visit United Country’s Facebook page to share your acts of kindness or an act of kindness you’ve witnessed this week— which we hope will inspire others to do the same, both this week and in all the days to come. The following true story illustrates the power of random acts of kindness and how one small gesture can make an enormous difference.
Last fall, my sister and I bravely embarked on a long road trip to take our three kids to the Omaha zoo. If you’ve ever traveled with a 5-year-old, 4-year-old and 9-month-old packed like sardines in the backseat for a four-hour drive, you’ll understand what I mean when I say, “bravely embarked.”
At exactly 6:45 that night, as we exited the highway to grab dinner in a small town along the way, we had a major tire blow-out right there on the exit ramp. Suddenly we were transformed into two stressed-out women stranded halfway between home and our Omaha hotel, with three hungry children, a shredded tire and only a pitiful, half-flat donut spare at our disposal. Before my sister even had time to finish her frantic phone call to her husband, a nice couple had already stopped to offer assistance. Upon peeking into our car full of crying kids, the gentleman promptly rolled up the sleeves of his dress shirt to investigate the dilemma while his wife called the owner of the only service shop in town to see if he could reopen the store to sell us a tire. While we sat there, three more strangers stopped to offer help. I’m not sure that those generous people truly understood what a blessing they were to us that night.
One random act of kindness can have a monumental impact.
Moments like that remind me of the rural community I grew up in. Small towns just seem to have a way of breeding hospitality and character. I can’t think of a time when I’ve driven down the main street of any small town without receiving a wave or nod from a stranger passing by, and it’s that distinct hospitality and kindness that draws so many people to small town life. But, I also know firsthand that kindness and generosity can be found in small towns and big cities alike.
Not long ago, as I was standing in line to buy a much needed cup of coffee at a store here in Kansas City, the man in front of me turned and said, “That coffee is on me young lady, have a wonderful day.” Then, he smiled and walked out the door, leaving me and the cashier speechless. That kind of thing just doesn’t happen in the city every day, but when it does, it can more than change someone’s day—it can change someone’s perspective, creating a desire to pass on that kindness to others.
Whether we live in rural or urban America, through a kind word or a helping hand, we can all emulate the characteristics of small town warmth and generosity and spread it to wherever we call home.
National Random Acts of Kindness week is the perfect time to take the kindness challenge. What will you do to make a difference? First on my list…I’ll be buying a cup of coffee for a stranger.