On the Kindness of Strangers


People often say that the world is a cruel place, and I know it can be. However, over and over again, I am reminded that good things are always happening, good deeds done by good people. This afternoon was a shining example. 

We are having a Fourth of July cookout tomorrow, and- as is the Gainey way- we kill ourselves days in advance trying to make everything ‘perfect’ for our guests (or as perfect as our funky old 1920 home in the ‘hood can be). For some reason, I decided to thin out my irises in the alley by my garage in the hottest part of the day. The sun was blistering, and as I worked, I began to melt- or at least felt like it. A typical Alabama summer day, humidity and all. I’m sure I made quite a pretty picture. 

A silver car began to approach on the narrow alley, and so I picked up my bag and backed into my garage, waving a greeting at the person. After he passed, I got back to work, noticing that the car had stopped several feet past me. A young black man got out of the car and came hurrying toward me, holding something. He was smiling kindly, and as he reached out with his gift, he said, “Here- you need this. Have a happy Fourth!” 

The gift he gave me was the most delicious (and deliciously cold) Popsicle I have ever had the pleasure to enjoy. I thanked him and told him how incredibly sweet he was. I was just blown away- this young man shared his special treat with someone he’d never met, just someone he saw struggling with the heat. A random act of kindness- one human being to another.  I wish I knew his name and his mother- I would love to tell her what a wonderful son she raised. 

I will keep on looking for those beacons of kindness and good in the world. Let’s all turn off the angry gloom and doom news for a while and step outside. I guarantee that the news you find out there will restore your faith in the world. It sure does mine. Every single time. 


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