The holidays are behind us, but one of our favorite family movies is “Love Actually.” The opening scene of the movie takes place at Heathrow airport, where they filmed real people greeting each other with hugs, joy and tears. Hugh Grant provided the voice-over:
Whenever I get gloomy with the state of the world, I think about the arrivals gate at Heathrow Airport. General opinion’s starting to make out that we live in a world of hatred and greed, but I don’t see that. It seems to me that love is everywhere. Often it’s not particularly dignified or newsworthy, but it’s always there — fathers and sons, mothers and daughters, husbands and wives, boyfriends, girlfriends, old friends. When the planes hit the Twin Towers, as far as I know, none of the phone calls from the people on board were messages of hate or revenge — they were all messages of love. If you look for it, I’ve got a sneaky feeling you’ll find that love actually is all around.
I’ve been thinking about this and realizing that kindness actually is all around too. Sometimes it gets buried in the relentless frightening headlines or muddled in our societal drama, but if you stop for a moment and look around, I think you’ll find that kindness is everywhere.
A friend recently sent me this email that filled my heart:
There is an older couple down the street who are very sweet and comment on how much they love our sidewalk riddles. I keep meaning to buy some flowers (Safeway bouquet — nothing extravagant) and leave it on their doorstep as a random act of kindness. Today I finally picked up some flowers and when we headed out for our walk, we went toward their house. As luck would have it, the woman was with her daughter, unloading new plants from her car. I handed her the flowers and she was taken aback. I said they were just because. She said her husband and her were celebrating their 60th anniversary tomorrow. She was so touched. 💕 I don’t want to post this because I don’t want people thinking I want attention for doing it but I wanted to share it with you as a fellow random acts of kindness woman. Made my day and hers. For $6 💕
I love that she thought to do this and then actually took the time and did it, that she doesn’t need or want “credit” for it, and that she labeled herself “a-random-acts-of-kindness woman.”
Random-acts-of-kindness humans are everywhere. Here are a few I witnessed myself.
- There’s a charity sew quilting group at The Villages, a retirement community in San Jose. They have lovingly sewn hundreds of quilts for veterans, children and victims of natural disasters. Before COVID, they would meet on Friday mornings to cut, sew and create gorgeous, cozy quilts that would be given away to perfect strangers. But the global pandemic hasn’t stopped this small but mighty group; they keep making quilts and giving them away. Just because.
- I recently found out that a friend has an anonymous Instagram account where she posts photos of rocks she paints. She paints these rocks for friends, colleagues and strangers. In fact, she was recently recruited to paint dozens of rocks for a young women’s power lunch — just because. She has a full-time job, a busy life but she carves time out for this because it’s important and makes a difference. It’s as simple as tat.
- Another friend of mine put a basket in front of her house at the beginning of COVID and keeps it supplied with fun goodies — sometimes bubbles or sidewalk chalk, other times stickers or candy. The fun treats are always gone within days or weeks, and she often doesn’t know who took them or why, but she does know that there were likely some smiles of delight at the simple gesture.
So maybe the next time your Twitter feed, local newspaper or CNN gets you down, stop and take a moment to commit a random act of kindness and see if it makes a difference. I feel almost certain that it will because kindness actually is all around.