Small Acts of Kindness

Be kind whenever possible.  It is always possible.

Tenzin Gyatso, 14th Dalai Lama

The opportunities for simple, small acts of kindness are endless if we pay attention. For many of us, we are comfortable enough complimenting a family member, friend, or acquaintance but doing so with a stranger rarely enters our mind if at all.

A recent experience on the city subway reinforced for me that chance conversations or the briefest encounters are often the most memorable teaching moments. It was the end of the workday and as usual, the subway platform was crowded with people all anxious to get home.

The train compartment in which I sat quickly filled as everyone scrambled to find a seat. As I glanced up, a young woman in her thirties entered, towing a laptop in one hand and with the other slinging an oversized handbag. She sat down across from me and after checking her mobile phone settled in for the ride.

I found myself stealing glances at this complete stranger for two reasons: firstly, for her flattering blue summer dress and secondly, for her unmistakably sad, weary facial expression. My heart went out to the woman who I knew nothing about except for the fact that she like many of us, could benefit from a few kind words at day’s end…even from a stranger.

As the train pulled into my station stop, I rose and made my way to the doors. I stopped in front the woman who looked startled.  I smiled and said, “I just wanted to say I think that dress and colour looks amazing on you.” She blushed, smiled and stammered, “Thank you, thank you very much.”

I exited the train and as I walked along the platform, caught a glimpse of the woman. She was still smiling.

Opportunities for small acts of kindness await us. Are you ready?

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