February 17

Random Acts of Kindness Day

 

The brochure says “Make Someone Else’s Day” at the top.  It uses the abbreviation RAK throughout, for “Random Acts of Kindness.”

Some of the bulleted suggestions include:

— Let someone else go ahead of you at the bank, or in the grocery store line.

— Send flowers to strangers in the hospital.

— At the drive-thru, pre-pay the food order for the car behind you.

— Leave a note of praise on a co-worker’s desk.

— Make a contribution to charity in another person’s name.

 

The suggestions no longer apply.  If a bank is still standing, there are no lines.  The grocery stores have all been emptied.  There’s no gasoline to allow cars to pull up to inoperable drive-thru windows.

No fresh flowers, no surviving hospital patients.

The only charity to contribute to, is you.

But, after the world has ended, sometimes the best coping mechanism is to continue as if nothing terrible has happened.

You step through the shattered glass doors of your FECU branch, and head toward the unattended teller window.  You hold back, leaving space for an absent customer to finish his or her transaction, then allow gracious time for the person who’s not behind you to take a turn.  Finally, you reach through the semi-circular cutout and retrieve some bills and loose change from the counter.

In the darkened grocery store, the refrigerator display for fresh flowers has been unplugged.  The flowers are dry and black.  Bugs scuttle over spilled potting soil.  Fortunately, you find loose plastic flowers in a nearby aisle, and collect a white and yellow bouquet.

You pass a fast-food restaurant, then walk along a white arrow painted into the asphalt.  At the order window, you crook your thumb to indicate an absent car behind you, then slide extra money onto the payment tray.

Finally, you reach your goal for the day:  your former place of employment.  The elevators no longer function, so you walk seven flights of steps to your floor.  You feel your way down a corridor, then shift to automatic pilot when you enter a familiar office.

You sleepwalk to your cubicle.  The computer is off.  Even in the limited light from a far-off window, you notice your in-box is practically overflowing.  Such a gloomy, overcast day — like all of them.  You remove some pens and pencils from an old coffee mug, and replace them with the plastic flowers.  There, that’s brightened the place up a bit.

One more touch.  You retrieve a Post-Em pad from the drawer and scribble out a note, which you stick on the dormant monitor.

“Keep going!” it says.  “You’re doing a great job!”

You try to recall how it felt to do kind things for others.  Later, you hope, the recipient of your random acts of kindness will be pleased.

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Authors Note:  A quick shout-out to my friend, Jacqueline Ward, whose superbly-titled crime thriller, Random Acts of Unkindness, reminds me of today’s blog theme — and it’s currently on sale at Amazon for only 99 cents!