Recently, in the evening, I was out at a local grocery store. I had purchased my items and was headed out to the parking lot when I happened to see, directly in front of me, a young woman struggling to get her keys out of her purse. she had 2 bags of groceries and to make mtters a little worse, was trying to navigate with a stroller as well. Suddenly, one of the bags she was carrying came apart, and several items spilled in the lot.I stopped, helped her gather her items and then helped her get them into her car, which was right next to mine as it happened. She thanked me, and I proceeded to head home.
My daughter was with me and on the way back said, “That was really nice of you.”. I didn’t immediately know what she was referring to but then realized it was that I had helped a total stranger out in a instance of some distress. Not a lot of distress, more annoying than anything else. Why I’m thinking about it now is that what I had done, which wasn’t much overall, was without thinking about it. It was an unconscious act. I saw someone that needed help, and that was it. It made me wonder because my daughter had said something, how many times in my life, heck, it the last month or so, that I may have done something similar? Of course, I couldn’t remember, because anything I may have done was most likely in the same state.
Not that I’m giving myself any praise – I’m not – but it’s occurred to me how many times we, all of us, do small things for other people that we never recognize as an act of kindness. We do these things not to be noticed, but just because we happen to see someone that needs help, and we are able, in the moment to provide that help. I don’t go out looking for these situations, in fact, had this young woman been in the next row of parked cars, I probably would not have noticed. In this case though, she was right in front of me. I wonder how many people would’ve have just walked by her without even attempting to help? I’m sure there is a study, some statistic somewhere that measures these little acts between strangers but if I do mine without thinking about it, and others do as well, how accurate would that be? Not very, I think.
As I mentioned above, I have no idea how many times in the last month, if any, I’ve done something similar. Even in the last year. In fact, this recent episode may be my only one, ever. Why do I say that? Again, it’s done without thinking about it, without looking for someone to notice, without any reward. Had my daughter not been there and actually mentioned it on the way home, I probably wouldn’t have thought about it again.
It gives me a little hope for society in general to think there are people among us that do the same.