Monday, June 3, 2013

Kind or Crazy?

What would you think if a large, scary man, began to chase your car and yell at the top of his lungs? KEEP DRIVING? Cause that was my thought. 
Driving home from a long day at my internship in West Hollywood, where it’s not too rare to run into some odd situations, a rather ragged looking man on the side walk began flailing his arms, yelling, and chasing my car. I tried to ignore him and attempt to move through the next few green lights. L.A. traffic prevented this. Out of breath the man came up to my passenger window. I struggled to role my window up. But, before I could grab a hold of the controls he got to the window and put his hand on the door. I’m frozen, petrified. 
He quickly ameliorates my feeling of terror and replaces it with relief and gratitude. 
“your jacket is on the roof of your car.”  He said. 
And with that he turned and continued on his way. 
I put my car in park and quickly grabbed my jacket before the light turned green. 
I yelled after him “Thank you!” He turned and smiled then was quickly engulfed by the sea of pedestrians. 
What a wonderful person. He went out of his way for a complete stranger. It also happened to be my favorite jacket. Thank you, where ever you are. 

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

The Kind Comedian Returns: Eric Vega & Dolphins

You love dolphins. 

Of course you do, everyone does. How could you not? They’re adorable, friendly, and can do backflips. Triple threat. They are creatures who capture our imagination, and for good reason. They are considered to be amongst the most intelligent species on the planet. Maybe this is why we can empathize with them so much, because they are so like us. And like us, they are capable of caring for one another.

I was recently linked to a scientific video that was as inspiring as it was heartbreaking. For the first time ever, a pod of dolphins was witnessed trying to rescue an injured friend. The injured dolphin seemed paralyzed and unable to swim on its own. The pod took turns swimming under their (for lack of a better word) friend to keep it’s head above water. Researchers believe that they were trying to keep him from drowning.

After several minutes, something even more remarkable occurred. The dolphins began to form a sort of raft under the injured dolphin to support it. They all came together and swam in formation to prop up their friend. When I first saw the video (linked below) I was absolutely touched. I’m no scientist, but it really does seem like evidence of compassion and even a sort of love that these animals seem to have for one another. Unfortunately, they were unable to save the dying dolphin. After it had stopped breathing, the several members of the group remained with the body until it sank.
And since that was the saddest thing ever, I’ll leave you with a video of a dolphin asking a diver to remove a hook from his fin. Something about this example of interspecies communication and cooperation is just inspiring to me.

Thank you Eric! :) 

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Another Kind Cabby

Ecstatic to return to L.A. I decided to see a movie on my first night back. I wasn't able to rent a car till the next day so I took a cab. I informed the driver that he was going to be my last taxi ride.  He turned around and said "Oh man! I'm honored!" He was so wonderfully genuine. The ride was only 7 minutes long but somehow our small-talk about where we were from turned into a boisterous discussion about how important it is to listen to yourself and recognize when a change in your life is needed. When we pulled up to the theater he turned the meter off and said "I hope you have a fantastic night and life, I am so glad I was your last cab ride!" I tried to insist that I pay him but he just shook his hand, smiled, and opened the automatic door. Before I left, I snapped this picture of him.

Thank you to this cab driver where ever you are in the world.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Kindness in the cafeteria: Guest writer, Grace Dipaolo

Something that attracted me to SCAD was the general creative energy. To me, the school embodied the essence of originality, encouraging students to unite conviction and creativity in pursuit of change. For the most part, I found this idea shared by my peers, rendering us open-minded and appreciative of one another. While kindness is often born from such acceptance and respect, the truth is, no matter where you are, there are some who are inhibited by their own insecurities, fearful of straying from the group; and unfortunately, this diffidence prevents them from helping others in the name of kindness.
I was at dinner with a few friends. The newly dubbed “Hive” cafeteria is dynamic; students chatter and amble about, eating, socializing, and taking a break from homework. The food and ambiance at The Hive make it an ideal place to hang out (unlike its predecessor, “Scafe”).
On this particular night, The Hive was serving mussels. It was near 7:30, crammed with students hurrying to get seconds before they stopped serving food. Though students typically favor the security of a group, there are those few who prefer to sit alone. This minority is easy to spot in places like The Hive, where most kids travel in clusters.
He was heavier-set, with curly hair and glasses. He sat separate from the majority on a stool at the coffee bar, usually with homework or a book. I had noticed this boy before. Although we had never interacted, he appeared good-natured, occasionally looking up, as if The Hive provided alone time with the simultaneous comfort of being surrounded by others.
The boy’s plate was piled precariously with mussel shells. As I walked back towards my table after disposing of my own food, I watched the boy pick up his plate, and turn to grab his backpack. The motion caused his plate to tilt downwards and the mussels to fall, scattering on the floor. I naturally diverted from the path to my table towards the boy to help him collect the shells. It was then that I realized, not only had the surrounding students remained decisively in their seats, but they laughed. Laughed? I was momentarily perplexed. What was funny?
I reached the boy and knelt to help him gather the shells. By this point, his face was flushed and his hands shaky as he picked each shell off the floor. “Dude, I dropped a piece of pizza last week” (I had). “Don’t be embarrassed.” He looked up cautiously. “I’m not kidding,” I continued, “I literally picked up my plate and it slid to the floor. Mussels are so much easier to pick up. At least they don’t leave a mess like pizza does.” He smiled weakly. I smiled back.
I was aware of the snickering gazes the boy and I were attracting, but by the time we picked up all of the shells, which took all of 15 seconds, everyone had returned to their conversations, the incident already forgotten. “Thanks,” the boy muttered as he walked away, still embarrassed. It was then that my friends, who had missed the scene entirely, watched me stand up and asked what happened. When I finished telling them, one said, “I can’t believe no one else got up. But at least he walked away smiling. That’s what matters.”
This instance made me think about the concept of kindness. Every time we see someone in need, we are faced with a choice: to stop what we are doing and help, or to carry on with our business. But in the short span of time it takes to help, in those 15 seconds, we have the power to console someone and tell them it’s okay, or adversely, to hurt their feelings, and let them feel embarrassed. And to me, those 15 seconds are worth taking out of our day in order to make someone else’s.
Though my peers’ indifference to the boy who dropped his plate upset me, my conclusion is this: it is those small instances that define who we are and how we can affect others. Those seemingly insignificant moments where you offer help or good energy to someone else are capable of the biggest impact. They are the moments that define us, and test our compassion.
Robert F. Kennedy once said, “Few men are willing to brave the disapproval of their fellows, the censure of their colleagues, the wrath of their society. Moral courage is a rarer commodity than bravery in battle or great intelligence. Yet it is the one essential, vital quality for those who seek to change a world which yields most painfully to change.” I believe that the most effective way to fortify our own moral courage is through acts of kindness towards our fellow human beings. And should we all reach out to support each other, even in the smallest ways; we can provide the foundation for a brighter world to live in.

Thank you Grace! 

Monday, December 17, 2012

In light of recent events.

The Newtown shooting has had a paralyzingly sad affect on me as it has on many people across this nation who have been watching the story unfold, and citizens so closely affected mourn. My father knows me very well and knew I needed a reminder of the goodness that we are surrounded by everyday. Here is the link he sent me. I have been trying to keep this blog to stories I or people I know experience, but this is just too fantastically-happy-making to not share.

A kind bus-boy

I was recently in New Jersey visiting my friend Kate from college. One day, Kate needed to go to work. So, I set up shop in a local Panera Bread and continued to work on internship applications. I was there for three hours and very slowly consumed my quiche and muffin, causing the bus-boy to visit my table frequently. After I finally had consumed it all, save for a few crumbs, the bus-boy tentatively approached my table and focused his attention on the leftover crumbs, he jokingly asked "Now, are you sure you don't want those?" I laughed and said "I'm so sorry, yes I am finally done." We exchanged smiles and he took my plate. I watched him as he went around to each customer giving them the same amount of attention and with a large genuine smile stretching across his face.

After completing his rounds he scanned the room in search of other tasks. His eyes landed on me again, and he returned to my table. "Would you like anything to drink?" he asked.  Now, I don't know about you, but I've never experienced this from a bus-boy in a nation wide chain like Panera. I was pleasantly surprised, "Oh! Water would be great, thank you!" I responded, he smiled, "not a problem" he said, and quickly retrieved me some water. Along with the cup of water, he placed a piece of paper with a link to an online service survey about my experience at Panera that day. "No pressure" he said. "My names Marc, and if you find yourself with extra time to fill out a review survey, I'd greatly appreciate it." Most of the time I would loose this piece of paper later in the day and forget all about it. But, there was something different about Marc, this guy really deserved a good review.

He wasn't just a hum-drum bus-boy sulking around and occasionally clearing plates. No, Marc respected his job, and himself, and as a result, appeared to be having fun. He struck up conversations with those who were receptive and brought a smile to those whom he engaged. He was a pleasant presence. I know this may sound a bit over hyped, but I really do believe that Marc showed me that kindness can be just simply doing your job with a smile, and as a result he brought smiles to the customers he met.  I immediately logged onto the site and wrote this about Marc. "Marc is an excellent employee of your company. His pleasant disposition and appropriate attentiveness to each customer is noteworthy. He definitely made me feel welcome and cared for. He is a very valuable employee."

Maybe Marc will get a promotion! Who knows, but either way his care and efforts to be a kind person did not go unnoticed.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Kindness in Peru: Guest writer, Sarah Guimond

I’m currently studying abroad in Peru. Every Friday I volunteer at Fundades, an orphanage for children in Peru. 

This Halloween my friend Benja and I made a surprise visit to the kids. These kids don’t have much and I had a feeling that the kids wouldn't go Trick-O-Treating so I went out, decorated some bags and filled them with candy, vampire teeth, and a masks. Benja and I showed up at night and shouted, “Tenemos una sorpresa para todos!” (We have a surprise for all of you!) The kids were soooo excited and thankful. It gave me such a good feeling inside to know I brought a little unexpected happiness into their day. 

These kids are by far some of the best people I have met in Peru! 

Sarita Guimond