by Tonya Brantley
I couldn't help but notice lately that more and more people have become interested only in their personal gain. Perhaps it has a lot to do with the current economic situation or the fact that we are now experiencing one of the highest unemployment rates our country has seen in a long time. More often than not, the people I have come across seem to be a lot more insensitive, and mean-spirited. What ever happened to the days when people in our society were less rude and insensitive to others around them. Don't get me wrong, there are days when I'm in a bad mood and just don't want to associate with people. However, no matter how bad I'm feeling or how bad my mood may be, I still try my hardest not to take it out on others. As a matter of fact, as I go throughout my day, I try to do at least one simple act of kindness for someone around me. Whether it be someone I know or a perfect stranger, it just makes me feel better to do something nice for someone else.
These simple acts of kindness don't have to cost you a thing or be extravagant. They can be nothing more than a nice compliment, a helping hand, a caring action, a nice gesture, a good deed or simply a smile. Ever hear of the saying, a smile breeds a smile? I believe that is true the majority of the time.
Last month on Mother's Day, I found a wallet on the side of the road next to my house. It was a pink wallet with the Zodiac sign of Sagittarius embroidered on it. At first, I thought it may have been a child's wallet, but upon further inspection, I realized that it actually belonged to a 57 year old woman. I knew this because inside were several cards including a prescription card, insurance card and a TennCare card with the lady's name and birth date on them. Inside was also a card with the words "This wallet belongs to:" with her name, address and a phone number listed. There wasn't a driver's license or money in the wallet, so I assumed the wallet was stolen, emptied of everything but the insurance cards, then tossed out on the side of the road. I attempted to contact the owner of the wallet by calling the number, however it had been disconnected. So, I decided to do the next best thing, return it to her in person.
I had her name and address, so I looked up the street name and discovered that it was about 2 or 3 miles away from my house. So, with the pink wallet in hand, I drove to the address, walked up to the house and knocked on the door. A slender older black lady in a colorful summer dress opened the door. I asked her if I had the correct address and she said yes. When I asked her her name and she told me the name from the cards, I told her I found something that belonged to her and presented her with the pink wallet. She said, "My wallet! I've been tearing this house upside down inside and out looking all over for it! Where did you find it?" When I told her it was on the side of the road near my house she asked, "What was it doing way over there?" I told her I had attempted to call her number and she told me her phone had recently been turned off. She informed me that she had several upcoming doctor's appointments and that she desperately needed her medical cards. She gave me a big hug and thanked me for returning her wallet and said, "How can I ever thank you enough?" I told her that her smile was thanks enough.
For the rest of my day, I had a permanent smile on my face and a "warm and fuzzy" feeling inside for doing what I would have wanted someone to do for me if I had lost my wallet. To me, returning the wallet was a simple act of kindness. I didn't think twice about doing it, I just did it because it was the right thing to do.
I believe wholeheartedly that our lives will be much more fulfilling if we all take the time to treat others how we would want to be treated and take the time to do at least one act of kindness each day. Whether it be random or planned, big or small, for someone we know or a stranger we have yet to meet, good deeds and kind actions can go a long way.
I expect to pass through this world but once; any good thing, therefore, that I can do, or any kindness that I can show to any fellow creature, let me do it now. Let one not defer or neglect it, for I shall not pass this way again.