Thursday, April 17, 2014

Kindness is contagious

Standing up on the train with 500 bags, struggling to juggle and maintain poise-I looked around to see the (fairly young) "men" sitting around me. All of which were staring-yet not one person offered me a seat. I was raised with manners and have frequently offered my seat to the elder, or pregnant women. Yet not one person flinched at the blonde girl struggling to hold heavy bags, and apparently maintain her own manners (due to everyone else's behavior).

 The same thing happened today, which made me question everyones upbring in the first place. Clearly some people just don't have common courtesy, but the more I open my eyes to the matter-the more I realize how common it's becoming. Very few men still open the door for women or do kind gestures. In fact, very few men act like men period. I'm sure the same applies towards certain women, but still-I know I will raise my son to have manners starting from a very young age.

So back to my story: After walking 40 something blocks yesterday, I decided to be frugal and indulge in a McDonalds "kiddie cone" ice cream. Far from healthy (of course), but after an excruciating train ride and walk (in 32 degree weather and heels) I deserved whatever my heart/soul/stomach desired. Ahead of me was an older lady pushing a basket, juggling her own bags. I watched her leave, as she stumbled on the steps and dropped her bags. Without hesitation, I rushed to help her up and placed each of her bags back on her basket. I asked her if she was ok, while everyone else just sat around eating there "happy meals" or whatever was more important.

I'm at the stage where bending over is painful, so while she was struggling to get up-I was struggling to bend over! Yet she thanked me profusely for my help, that I didn't think twice about. Even if she wasn't thankful, I would still do the right thing.

The past few months have been some of the toughest ever. But I've learnt plenty of lessons. Mainly that many are all talk. People who promise to be there for you (no matter what) will disappear, promises will become meaningless, and you will quickly realize that the only person you can trust (or rely on) is yourself. The sooner you stop putting faith into people, the stronger you will become.

 This seems to stand for outside situations also. At this point, I shouldn't expect someone to offer me their seat-or a man to open the door- that way I would never be disappointed. So just as I was about to give up on chivalry, or kindness to begin with-I experienced a random act of kindness.

I was waiting for a friend by the subway MTA machines. I must have looked bewildered (or broke) because a man asked me if I was ok, or wanted a "swipe". I thanked him,  but explained I was just waiting for someone. So this all brought me back to the notorious/cliche quote "what goes around comes around" I truly believe that you get what you give, and that random acts of kindness can make all the difference.