Project Kindness (Day 11)

Congratulations and Happy Anniversary to the best in-laws a gal could have! We spent the entire day celebrating their 39th year together. When I told the kids where we were headed, Poppy remembered, “Didn’t we just celebrate their anniversary last year?” Yes, well. Anyway, I cooked a casserole, cut some fruit, arranged some tulips, commissioned Poppy to make a card (which featured two bananas having this conversation: “You are apeeling!” and “Happy Bananaversary!”). I was happy to help Gammer and Papa John celebrate their marriage and would have done all of these things and more with or without a thought of Project Kindness. Therefore, none of these gestures counted toward my daily kindness quota. Once we got to small town Abbeville, SC, there weren’t too many accessible opportunities. When my sleepy husband suggested a caffeine run in the middle of the afternoon, I was relieved that someone was leaving the house to perhaps perform a good deed or two. I tasked my accommodating spouse to step in and be my ambassador of kindness today. (I was pretty busy cleaning up the baby’s latest potty training endeavors from the family room rug. That’s a story for another day.) 

Without further ado, please welcome my guest blogger for the day (aka Russell).

Today I got to experience Project Kindness first-hand. While visiting my parents, my sister and I decided to go out for coffee at the local cafe, and while taking beverage orders, I got the order from Erin — You get to buy someone’s coffee, and then you can write about it as the guest blogger.

Suddenly, I was responsible for the daily dose of generosity. I immediately started working out how to make this a meaningful experience so I could do a good job of blogging about it. Those who know me are aware that I’m not much for just kicking back and enjoying something, especially when there’s an assignment involved.

So when I stepped up to the counter, I was keenly aware of the extra item on my list. As I ordered, I stressed that we weren’t taking this coffee with us, because it was a gift.

The young man taking the orders was pleasantly surprised. Oh, really? That’s cool! So far, so good. He wrote down the orders, ran my card and started heating the milk. That was it? That was fast. I wasn’t disappointed exactly, it was just kind of…abrupt. I considered this and stepped to the end of the counter to wait for the drinks I had ordered, and also the one I had not. Two cups out of three appeared on the counter, and as I was picking them up, the barista said, “So who should I say paid for the coffee?”

I told him that I thought she’d want to be anonymous, but that he could say it was courtesy of Project Kindness. He reiterated that this was cool, nodded as though making a mental note of the name, and told us to have a good day, come back soon. As I turned from the counter, I saw the next patron and wondered if she would be the next person to benefit from Project Kindness, even if she was wearing flip-flops and sweat pants. I felt sort of bad for already judging this person against my ideal Project Kindness recipient, and thought about how Erin had wrestled with the same question on Day One. Then I realized what was more important than the nice, but temporary satisfaction I got from being the Project Kindness ambassador — thinking about how a simple good deed changed the way I felt about myself and my relationship to my fellow travelers, no matter how undeserving, oblivious and poorly dressed they might be. That’s a lot of introspection for $1.55. 

Thank you, dear.

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One thought on “Project Kindness (Day 11)

  1. Hmmmmm…….

    The kindness “definition” keeps evolving. To be added to the list is the notion that the bar keeps being raised on how much kindness we dispense. Surely, the Anniversary trek and food and fellowship would fill the quota but somehow kindness requires something extra and something beyond on the part of the giver (so the state of the giver is emerging as part of kindness.)

    Pretty soon, like a drug addiction, the giver will have to be kinder and kinder and kinder. And soon all those unkind will be adding an increasing dose of kindness as the chain reaction spreads.

    What a kind future is in front of all of us and that is a good thing!

    PS – I have also been pondering the Random Act of Kindness thought and have decided that part of the kindness definition actually involves a Deliberate Act of Kindness.

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