Kindness Is Free. Sprinkle That Stuff Everywhere.
Written by: Amy Rees Anderson
“The smallest act of kindness is worth more than the grandest intention.” -Oscar Wilde
I was in the airport when I saw her – a young mother with her small baby strapped to her chest in a carrier and her little two-year-old boy by her side with a car seat in one hand and luggage in the other. She was traveling alone with her two little kids and she was struggling to try and get her luggage up on the security conveyor belt and unstrap her baby. She was obviously struggling, but no one was stepping forward to help her. My husband and I were several people behind her in line, and it was obvious people were getting frustrated by how long she was taking, yet none of them offered to help her.
I couldn’t stand by and do nothing – I felt her pain as I remember being a young mother myself with two small babies that same age trying to get through an airport – so I jumped out of line and ran up ahead to help her get her things on the belt and help make sure her little boy didn’t run away from her.
As I ran forward, one of the security guards yelled, “You can’t go through the metal detector with your shoes on!”
“I’m not going through the detector, I am just going to help this mother get through.”
As I lifted her car seat onto the belt and helped her with her bags and children, the people behind her watched quietly… it was as if it simply hadn’t crossed their minds to offer to help her. As I helped get her little boy to the metal detector to walk through, the security guard who had yelled out earlier said, “Ma’am…thank you for helping her…ma’am, thank you…”
I then ran back to join my husband in line. He and I got through the detector only to find that same young mother now at the end of the belt, trying to repack her bags and get her baby back in the carrier while trying to explain that it was a bottle warmer they’d taken from her diaper bag to confiscate. She was close to tears by this point when I helped her gather her things and offered to help walk her and her little boy and carry her bags to her gate. I could literally feel her gratitude as we walked down to her gate, where she gave me a huge hug and thanked me.
It was a simple act of kindness on my part. It didn’t take more than a few minutes to help her, and it was no struggle for me at all…but to her, it was as if I’d given her the world…
I can’t help but wonder what went through the minds of the other people who stood in that security line watching her struggle…did it even cross their minds to help her? I’m not asking that to pass judgment on anyone, I’m asking it because I know how easy it is to get so caught up in our own worries that we can’t see another’s need…maybe they were worried about being on time for their flight…maybe they couldn’t imagine what it was like to be in her shoes because they’d never been there themselves…maybe their minds were on their own internal struggles, and they couldn’t see her external struggle happening right in front of them…
All I can tell you is that helping that young mother that day at the airport did far more for me than it did for her. It touched my heart in a way I can’t describe other than to say I was filled with peace and joy the rest of the day. And all it took was the smallest act of kindness on my part, yet the payoff was huge…the payoff for me was HAPPINESS!
If we stay alert, we will see opportunities all around to help someone…opportunities to perform an act of kindness. It can be as small as a smile, opening a door, carrying a package, picking up the paper someone dropped, or giving a sincere compliment…you just have to be on the lookout in your day and you will see an abundance of opportunities arise…and trust me when I tell you that the payoff…that feeling you’ll get from helping another is worth its weight in gold.
“Kindness is free. Sprinkle that stuff everywhere.” -unknown
Originally published on amyreesanderson.com
About the Author
Amy is the Managing Partner of REES Capital, an Angel Investing Firm; the founder of the IPOP Foundation, a charity promoting entrepreneurship and self-reliance; and serves on the boards of numerous organizations.
Previously, Amy was the CEO of MediConnect Global, a healthcare technology company she grew and sold for over $377 million.
She has been a contributor to both Forbes and the Huffington Post and is the author of the book What Awesome Looks Like: How To Excel In Business & Life.
Amy has been the recipient of a number of awards which include receiving the prestigious Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award, CEO of the Year, and BYU’s Entrepreneur of the Year.
She’s been featured in Inc Magazine, The Wall Street Journal, Businessweek, and many other national publications, and in 2015, Amy received an honorary Ph.D.