Posts Tagged 'Random Acts of Kindness'

Thank You (Now Get Out) – 8/17/10

Now, keep in mind, last week, I promised comics, and not art.  Therefore, without any further ado… comics about people… good and bad (mostly good).  Now I know on a couple of these unless you have OMG-I-am-so-jealous-of-your vision, then you won’t be able to read the text.  Y’all know you can click on the pictures, if you’re so inclined, to get the big thing, right?

Superwoman ComicSo.  This one is Strawberry Sorbet in to save the day.  I walked in Saturday morning with a stomach ache, four hours of sleep, in a bad mood because of a fight with my parents over my broken bed, dejected because Bryan and I had a fail!date the day before… and loads of work, including a redo-job that would occupy exactly five and a half hours of my day.  No exaggeration.  We timed it.  So, anyways, my manager took the liberty of calling Strawberry Sorbet to see if she would come in early.  Bless her.

Stupid Blueprint Guy ComicRawr.  This guy made me wicked mad.  The Blueprint Arch-Nemesis came in twice before the scene above.  He wanted to copy at least 100 blueprints while he waited.  ‘Scuse me.  Shrink and copy.  I told him no the first time.  Kate told him no the second time.  The third time, Kate was on her way out and he said he only needed a couple done.  She said yes and left it for me.  Wanna know how many a couple is?  45.  It took over an hour.  And he was unhappy about it when it was done, because it was less quality than he expected.  Dah’ling.  You either get speed or quality, but you can’t have both.

Matt and the Ice Cream Comic

This one, clearly, was drawn at a different time in a different colour.  I was having an awful day and Happy PC brought me an oreo milkshake thing from Wendy’s.  He didn’t make and pomp and circumstance about it, he just left it on my desk and I noticed it at least twenty minutes later.  And even though it was a little melty, it still tasted good.  And it was the highlight of my day.  I’m telling you, guys.  Random acts of kindness, no matter how small, really do make a difference.

Those are the ones for this week, ladies and gents.  Apologies for the mediocre drawings… they really only took a couple of minutes each to draw, and I’m no cartoonist.  Most the people lately have been in the run-around back-to-school groove and therefore all rude, but only moderately so.  I think August makes people irritable.  It’s like March.  We’re done with this season, NEXT!  What do y’all think?

Time for a Gibbs-Slap

Stop, or I'll Shoot!

While I can’t call myself an NCIS-fanatic, I do indulge in the television series.  Yes, I know.  I’m three seasons behind.  Yes, I have seen episodes of LA and I don’t think they’re as good.  My favourite characters are Abby and McGee, but if it weren’t for Ducky, I don’t think I could stomach the show.  His sense of humour keeps autopsy from being nauseating for a girl who still occasionally checks and makes sure zombies aren’t under her bed.

I have to agree with Everyone Else, though.  Without Gibbs, NCIS just wouldn’t be the same (and isn’t, thanks for proving our point, LA).  Gibbs is a great leader, and he always goes with his gut.  To Tony, Xiva, McGee, and Abby, he’s a definite father figure.  And when one of his children has (or is about to) go astray, he knocks some sense into them.  Literally.  So, here I am.  I bow my head down to the great master, because I deserve a Gibbs-slap.

Lately, I have been selfish.  I complain about my weight (yesyesIknowI’mnotfat… I’m just fatter than I wish I was) and how many hours I’m working (honey, a couple months ago you’d’ve killed for 40-hours/week) and my family (…at least they love me?) and my boyfriend (I know he loves me) and my friends (okay, only a couple of them).  I told myself I was going to be better.  That I was going to look at the little things and be appreciative.  And I haven’t been.

A couple days ago, my friend Matt bought me one of those Oreo-Milkshake-Things that they have at Wendy’s.  He didn’t flounce up to me and say “HEY!  I bought you ice cream!”  I found it sitting on my desk, frosty and chocolaty.  I knew right away it was Matt, because he’s the only one who knows I like those, and he’s at Wendy’s all the time.  But when I noticed the shake (it took me a while… I had been running around) he was already working with a customer and by the time I was able to thank him, I drank half of it.

For my job, I have to smile.  Even if something isn’t funny, even if I freaking-hate-your-guts.  But when I saw the shake, I looked at him, and smiled for real.  It was just a random act of kindness, and it meant a lot to me.  When I was able to thank him, he simply smiled and said “I thought you would like it,” and kept going.  I’ve been thinking about it ever sense, because even though it may have been a little thing to him, it was a big thing to me.

I wanted to share that, because I read this post on Freshly Pressed and I wanted to emphasise how important random acts of kindness are.  The more I think about what Matt did, the more I realise how quickly I let myself fall back into the sinking sand, and how I need to stop being selfish (which honestly is one of my greatest pet peeves in people) and start being more selfless.

I think that the last selfless thing I did was buy Reeses just to give them away to two people I work with, just because.  And that wasn’t very selfless.  It was more… “You are having a bad day.  Would you like a Reese?  Okay, here.”  Pretty pathetic, but I am going to do better.  IamIamIam.

What was the last random act of kindness you performed?  When you find yourself slipping into selfishness, what is the Gibbs-slap that wakes you up to reality?

Oh, and by the way, y’all are welcome to give me a good virtual Gibbs-slap.

Thank You (Now Get Out) – 06/22/10

Heather covered in frosting at Caitlyn's sweet sixteen.


If you want others to be happy, practice compassion.  If you want to be happy, practice compassion.” ~ Dalai Lama


So.  I have some good news!  This week was really sunshiney!  The only negatives I have had this week were today: It’s You (who didn’t understand there was nothing on the drive) and Actually, I Don’t Want to Talk to You (who figured he could climb up the ladder and get someone else to create his thing while I waited.  When I left 45 minutes later, he was a happy camper).  But rather than go into detail about their ignorance, I’m going to let the angels sit in the spotlight:

Iguana Man
I was walking down the street on Wednesday and I walked past a man with an iguana or other reptilian creature wrapped around his neck.  It made me giggle.

Miss Jinx
Not to be confused with a Pokemon, Miss Jinx is a character who I am friends with, but see rarely.  She is eccentric but talented and her energy and quirks are really uplifting.  Basically?  She rocks.  I got to spend a little time with her on Thursday.  I learned that she is one of the few humans I know who approves of Hawaiian pizza.  My love for Miss Jinx has grown because of that fact.

Lil’ Miss Gaga
Named for the fact that she idolises Lady Gaga, Lil Miss Gaga is technically one of my students, but she presented me with a music CD on Friday that has been brightening my days ever since.  She introduced me to several new artists as well as reintroducing me to new songs I haven’t heard in ages.  The only down is that I’ve had Ballroom Blitz stuck in my head for days.  But nonetheless, Lil Miss Gaga is also someone who comes off as being in complete control of her life, and I don’t worry around her.

HappyPC
HappyPC is a character who will probably show up a lot.  He’s a bundle of smiles and always, always lifts my spirits when I’m frazzled.  He sure did on Saturday!  Thanks a bunch!

Hey, ‘Sup.
Hey, ‘Sup is one of the people I work with, and whenever he’s not in a bad mood, he’s a lot of fun.  Great personality, and always helpful.  Sunday, he gave me a while into which I could escape, which is always nice at work, when I’m getting overwhelmed.  And the conversation is distracting in a good way; it’s helps me hit reset on his brain.  Hanging out with him on Sunday was tops.  Also, he gets my Captain Courteous award this week, because he always opens doors and lets me pass first, picks up stuff when I drop it (unless I get to it first).  He’s a gentleman in the old-fashioned sense.

Master Chief
Ah, Master Chief.  He came in to look around and say hello in Sunday and he was also a wonderful distraction.  Master Chief is a wonderful human being, though.  He’s a very patient, understanding type of guy, and a great listener.  A pleasure to have as a friend.

Inconceivable!
Inconceivable is an old friend of mine.  In a sense, we’ve been through everything together.  We’ve known each other for about half my life, and I know he’s got my back.  He was one on the ones that went with me to the drive-in Sunday night, and he made me laugh through everything.  I’m so blessed to know him, because he’s just one of those people that I could go a year without seeing, and we’d pick our last conversation up right where we left off.  Seeing him is always a blast.  I get that nagging reminder sometimes that we are moving in different directions with our lives, but it’s coupled with the knowledge that neither of us mind taking a couple steps back and having a good chat.

It’s A Beautiful Day
When doing calls for some of our customers, I try not to be too robotic, and I happened to mention to one customer that it was a beautiful day and I hoped he was at the beach.  He came into the store just to tell me that it made him smile, and he appreciated my perky personality and customer service.  I blushed.  Totally appreciated.

Strawberry Sorbet
Strawberry Sorbet is one of the girls I work with.  I generally get along with her fairly well.  She was particularly nice to me on Monday, maybe she was in a good mood, I don’t know.  But that isn’t what struck me.  What stuck me was that she did a job for a customer who she knows from outside of work, and coming back for the job would be an inconvenience, so she told him she’d bring it to him on her own time in the evening.  He lives about a 40 minute round trip from her.  I thought that was a really nice, selfless thing to do.

Th-th-that’s all folks!  Come around for more next week!  Got anything to add… good, bad, or ugly?  Post it in the comments below!

Thank You (Now Get Out): 6/15/10

The ddrawings of two children at the end of a very long night at work.

“Good manners are made up of petty sacrifices.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson.

I’ve decided that in honor of my terrible, horrible, no good, very bad shift-block on Mondays/Tuesdays (16 hours of work in 27 hours) I’m going to start a regular feature on my blog that will (theoretically) air Tuesday nights every week.  This will be about the people of the week- the best of the best and the worst of the worst.  A note on this:  the worst may not always be evil human beings.  Simply remarkable ones in a negative way.  But my father always told me I should write a book about remarkable people.  So… this is a start.

The stars of this week begin appearing on Sunday and make their way to today.  Let’s find out who they are!:

Bagel Lady.

I had a moment of extra time on Sunday before work so I decided to brave Dunkin’ Donuts.  I rarely go to Dunks in the morning, but you know, a Strawberry Coolata sounded amazing.  I walk in and the place is packed.  I’m not too, too worried.  I only work across the street and I’m running about twenty minutes before I need to be there.  I get in line and the woman in front of me is jib-jabbering away on her cell phone, like most people do these days.  That’s Negative Point Number 1.  It’s so rude to talk on a cell phone when you’re waiting for service, because you hold everyone up when you get to the front of the line.  Bagel Lady gets to the front and finally (after five minutes) gets off her phone.  She orders three dozen bagels, toasted, with three packets of cream cheese on the side for each.  She also orders six Watermelon Coolatas.  After all this is taken in, the cashier reads it back to her, exactly like she said it.  There are three people running the shop, and seeing the size of the order, they hustle and bustle to finish it to keep the line moving.  Coolatas come up.  Bagel lady throws a fit because she wanted Strawberry Coolatas (even though she very clearly stated Watermelon).  She throws this flailing, yelling fit, completely embarrassing herself in front of everyone.  After she finishes, her phone rings very loudly.  She answers it and starts all over again.  I was a little embarrassed for her sake, but more pissed off at her for treating those people so terribly.  They’re doing their best.  Even if the mistake had been the associates’ mistake, she could’ve treated them like human beings instead of pack mules.

F-The-World.

We have a regular customer at work who is very congenial at all time as long as we bow down to him and bend all the rules to suit his fashion.  We close at 6pm on Sundays, and he likes to come at 6:20pm and bang on the door and swear fervently at us as we walk to our cars, because we need to reopen the store for him.  He’s not a very good customer – maybe a dollar in copies and a ream of paper every other week.  This Sunday, he walked into the store about fifteen minutes after opening, walked over to a product, swore fervently at it for ten minutes, and walked out.  Um, sorry, did someone do something wrong?

Chinese Counterfeiter.

I feel like this one needs a cautionary note:  I’m not generalising this to say that all Chinese people are counterfeiters.  This one, however, was, and that is how I think of her.  Not everyone with the same ethnic origins- just her.  Monday evening this woman came in with a bunch of two dollar bills.  I spent about ten minutes explaining as politely as I could that I could not replicate them for her.  I told her “legally, I can’t copy money.  My hands are tied.  I’m sorry I can’t help you.”  I wanted to tell her:  “what you’re asking me to do is illegal.  Replicating money for any purpose at all constitutes a very long prison sentence, and I want nothing to do with you.”  How can you tell people, without telling them they;re stupid, that they’re breaking a very simple, logical, rational law?

Cassie and Her Sister.

At the end of Monday night, after a trying day, I had a woman come in for a couple of quick copies with her two girls.  They were probably four and eight.  The girls were excited and eager to help their mother, and their enthusiasm was noted, but not particularly helpful.  I gave both the girls a piece of blank paper and a highlighter and pen (I don’t have any crayons of anything) so they could draw a picture.  To my surprise and delight, they both gave the pictures to me.  It was totally the girls’ idea.  The four year old – I caught that her name was Cassie – drew a marker, and her older sister drew a heart.  Their lovely pictures are featured at the top of this entry.

Just Breathe.

When it gets really hectic and busy, I get to running around at work.  I’m so focused on processing the lines and getting people settled that I probably look like a race horse.  At any rate, I had a customer on Monday, and when I asked him “What can I do for you?” the first thing he said was “Take a deep breath.”  I totally appreciated that.  A lot of people get upset when I tell them to stop a minute and keep breathing- I think they feel judged or looked-down-upon.  When people say it to me, though, I know I need it, and I appreciate it.  So thanks, whoever you were.

My Photographs are Holier Than Thou.

I had a deceptively sweet-looking old man Tuesday morning that wanted a couple of photographs enlarged.  They were both pictures of his house.  He did not, no way, uh-uh trust me.  I don’t know why.  Every time I brought the photographs to my copier behind the counter, he’d let himself in and start fiddling.  I tried to tell him politely that I needed him to 1.) Stay out; and 2.) not touch the machine, but he wasn’t keen on listening.  This was particularly bad because we were having some carpeting redone this morning, and there was paste on the floor where the carpet squares were going in, very close to my machine.

Repent, the End is Near.

I am Christian and I am not about to belittle the ideals of this woman- simply her behavior.  While I was at lunch, my co-worker had a customer come in that needed several copies of over fifty different sized documents, and since of course there was a line, she insisted on waiting for them and holding up the line.  My co-worker was able to talk her into coming back in an hour (it was a substantial amount of work, all stuff that was fragile papers and strange sizes and needed to be done by hand).  Every ten minutes or something, this woman would come back and become “politely upset” about her work not being done, as we were trying to process people in line.  My co-worker was able to finish her work before the hour was up, because she worked tirelessly on it, leaving me to the mess on customers.  When the job was finished, the woman held up my co-worker for fifteen minutes when the center was clearly busy to tell her to repent, because the end is near.  My poor co-worker, who is incredibly active in her own church, was just trying to tell the woman that she was well familiar with the Scripture being  quoted at her.  Apparently the woman didn’t believe her.

Murphy’s Victim.

There’s a new tire place going in across the street.  I had the (mis)fortune of meeting the manager today (Tuesday) morning.  He was making some copies, and although cheery, was clearly flustered.  I asked him a couple of simple questions, and learned that everything has been going wrong for him moving into the new place.  He had to start paying the lease in early January, but the landlord broke his/her word, and they weren’t able to move in until late May; things are breaking and not getting fixed, et cetera.  I felt bad for him, I understood why he was frustrated.  Boy was his luck bad in this venture.  But what could I do?  I listened.

Carpet Man.

I wasn’t pleased that my carpet was being redone this morning, especially since I found out only a few minutes before it happened.  But the guy who came in to do it was helpful and charitable.  He worked quickly and never complained about me getting in his way, although I kept leaping over the space where he was working.  I was totally in his way, but he was congenial and understood that I needed to get work done, too.  Thank you for your patience, sir.  Really… thank you.

Captain Xerox!

We have a regular repairman we see all the time, because one of our machines is awful.  He is such a nice guy, always smiling, and he fixes things as quickly as he can.  It’s a relief to see him because it means that I’m getting my machine back, yes, but for some reason his professional demeanor and his complete calm is really reassuring.  We have a couple of other repairmen, but the one who came in Tuesday morning is more than just “that guy who fixes the machine”.  He acts like a human being, and he treats us like one, too.  You rock, Captain Xerox!

The Chivalrous Knight.

Chivalrous Knights come in all shapes and sizes.  Tuesday’s was a tiny, wrinkled little old man who held the door for me at Panera.  I smiled as big as I could and said thank you.  It’s always nice to see that chivalry isn’t dead.

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Well, that’s all folks!  Come back again next week for more stories of humans in the world- the good, the bad, and the ugly.  Feel free to contribute your own remarkables in the comments section!

R.A.O.K.s

A collectible figurine in the curio.

May 18, 2010; Chesterfield, NH: One of my mother's collectible Boyd figurines.

“God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference.” ~ Prayer by Reinhold Niebuhr.

R.O.A.Ks.  Not to be confused with R.O.U.S’, which are the infamous Rodents of Unusual Size from the movie A Princess Bride.  What is an R.O.A.K.?  Does it sound a little familiar?  Maybe it would help if I spelled it out for you:  Random Acts of Kindness.  Now what we know what it stands for, you may wonder, why is she talking about that?  It’s not Kindness Day; the next one of those isn’t until November.  Why bring up the topic at all?

The topic is being brought up because the topic has to be brought up.  It occurs to me that we don’t do Random Acts of Kindness nearly as often as we should.  I did a WordPress Search for “random acts of kindness” and my top results were about World Kindness Week, commercialism of R.A.O.Ks, and about Random Acts of Kindness Day.  I didn’t find anything about acts being performed, but preachings that they should be.  So, I figured that maybe my sample size was too small.  I went to Google.

When you Google search “random acts of kindness,” the first thing that comes up is The Random Acts of Kindness Foundation.  My first reaction?  Frustration.  Does everything needs to be commercialised?  Do we really need days, products, a foundation to inspire us to do R.A.O.K.s?  Then I found the testimonial stories.  I haven’t decided what to think of them yet.  Every once and a while, there’s a golden one, talking about an R.O.A.K. done for the teller.  Many of them are self-centered and self-promoting, which to me defies the point.  If you’re doing a random act of kindness to make yourself look good, then it’s not selfless.  Stories that claim “I didn’t punish my sibling for finding the toy they lost and I was looking for” don’t seem like a R.O.A.K. to me.  And stories that sound like a chain email could easily be fiction.

There aren’t a lot of stories on the website, and only half of them sound like legitimate R.O.A.K.s.  And all the legitimate ones are based around money (lost wallets, etc.).  That concerns me.  Do we even know what kindness is anymore?  I decided to look up the “official definition” of “kindness” in the Merriam-Webster Dictionary Online, and the definition I received was “the quality or state of being kind.”  Geez, well, that’s not very helpful?  I looked up the word “kind”, and I got “of a sympathetic or helpful nature.”  So, if we plug that into the previous definition, we get “the quality of being of a sympathetic or helpful nature.”  Well goodness, no wonder so many of those stories are based around self-promotion?  According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, all you need to be is unplannedly helpful and voila!  Random act of kindness.  That seems a little uneventful to me.

I am firmly convinced that the word “selfless” really needs to be included in that definition.  Bringing lilacs to a friend because they make you smile and so do lilacs… that’s unplanned and selfless.  Returning a wallet and taking the reward?  Not so selfless.  Returning a wallet is more helpful, yes… but it brings relief not joy.  Random acts of kindness should bring joy to both parties.  Not just a “thank God, my credit cards are still intact… I think.”  It should be the type of thing that makes you want to tell other people.  Tell other people “this complete stranger did this awesome thing,” not “hey, guess what, I got my purse back.”  I’d like to share some random acts of kindness that have been showed to me recently, just in way of saying that I appreciate them.  They have not gone unnoticed.

  • Last week, one of the ladies I work with gave me wrapping paper.  No reason at all- it had my name on it and she saw it and wanted to give me it.  I don’t know why.  I mean, we’re not really friends, but she did anyway.  That was really nice of her.
  • Bryan gave me a bouquet of Scarlet Mimis a few weeks ago, the Friday before he moved out of his dorm room.  They were beautiful and I dried some of them out to keep forever.  We hadn’t been fighting, and it wasn’t a special day, he just woke up that morning and wanted to do that.
  • Every once and a while, one of the girls I used to work with in ActingOut comes up to me, gives me a hug, and tells me I made a difference in her life.  Wow.  Way to make me feel like I’m doing something right in the world, and in that program.  I think hearing that and knowing its true it amazing, and always uplifting.  And I don’t think she realises how much hearing that means to me.
  • A few weeks ago, one of my friends gave me a stone (two, actually!) painted in nailpolish with my name on them.  No reason at all; she just did.  I named the smaller one Steve and it was exciting.
  • My mom bought baby carrots and pineapple at the grocery store last week, just for me.  It made my weekend for her to think of me like that!
  • My manager helped me doing some busy work last night in my closing shift, because he didn’t have anything else to do.  It saved me loads of time!  I think I said thank you a dozen times, but it wasn’t enough.
  • I had a customer compliment me to a fellow associate, who passed it on to a couple managers.  This is two random acts of kindness:  one from the customer, and one from my fellow associate.  It was nice of him to say it, and it was nice of the associate to pass it on, though he didn’t have to.  Thanks, guys!
  • One of my best friends stopped into work yesterday to see me, and even though I was crazy busy and didn’t even get to say “hello,” it was nice to see her, and to have her take time out of her day to say hello.
  • One of the gentlemen I work with in theatre dropped off some music cds for me to listen to for an upcoming show in his free time yesterday.  It’ll help me get ahead for the show, which is a relief for me, and it was nice of him to come out of his way to bring them to me!
  • One of my directors is pushing her husband to give me a lead role which (she doesn’t know because I’ve never told her) I really want.  She has so much faith in me, and that’s great to know, and great to have.  She’s always trying to help me improve and she’s always teaching me new things, for no reason at all but the goodness of her heart.

That’s just the beginning.  I certainly could keep going.  Those just touched the last three weeks, at the most.  People do kind things for me every day without even realising it.  We shouldn’t need an event or reason to do good things, selfless things for other people.  We should want to do them, just because they’re right.

Not to be cheesy, but have you performed a R.O.A.K. today?  Has someone done one for you?  Tell me about it!

Health ReportHealth Report: Just ate a Peanutbutter Whoopie Pie.  Those things are calorie-crazy.  Needless to say, some exercise will be required.  I’m thinking Wii Swordplay or Basketball for an hour or so, topped with improv?  Lets hope that’s enough.

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Words Worth Getting AtWords Worth Getting At:  I maintain that the typewriter is great for writing something even when I don’t want to.  In fact, it’s on my to-do list today.  After Wii Swordplay/Basketball.  I already typed up a dead-end short this morning, but it’s good to keep writing.

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Random SqueeRandom Squee: I found out yesterday that a young gentleman has made a motion to open an ice cream parlor in my hometown, fairly close to my house.  That would be marvelous.


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something to think about

"You know, I don't know if you'll understand this or not, but sometimes, even when I'm feeling very low, I'll see some little thing that will somehow renew my faith. Something like that leaf, for instance - clinging to its tree despite wind and storm. You know, that makes me think that courage and tenacity are about the greatest values a man can have. Suddenly my old confidence is back and I know things aren't half as bad as I make them out to be. Suddenly I know that with the strength of his convictions a man can move mountains, and I can proceed with full confidence in the basic goodness of my fellow man. I know that now. I know it." ~ End of Act I in the musical You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown.

competing for the house cup

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