Random Acts of Kindness.

random acts of kindnessRandom Act of Kindness – That moment when you help a total stranger with no expectation in return. For decades we have been taught, “Never talk to strangers.” Especially in this day and age, we are too afraid to connect with someone on the street that we do not know.

In the summer while at Newport Beach with the family, I remember walking by a parking meter that was flashing in red: “EXPIRED.” I looked in purse to see if I had any extra change. I did, so I dropped a few coins in the meter and continued down to sidewalk to our car. As we drove away I noticed the meter maid issuing tickets to some cars. I felt happy, knowing that I bought someone some time to get to their car. Hopefully, I made a difference that day.

It’s those little things that you can do, that can brighten someones day or even make their lives a little easier. I love looking for these moments.

This story is a little risky, but I followed my gut and did it anyway…

A few months ago I was at a stop light in my SUV. I had just dropped off Marissa (10) at her piano lesson. My normal routine is I drop Marissa off and head over to Target across the street for a few groceries. Usually Jessie (4) is with me but on that day she decided to stay with her Lola (grandma). I have 30 minutes to park, power shop, get back in my car and drive to the piano teacher’s home. So I was sitting at the stop light off Irvine Blvd. near my church and my windows happened to be rolled down. I heard a man yell, “Hi there. Can you help us?” The light was still red so I had time to respond. I looked over and the man was holding a 2 year old and had 2 older kids with him maybe 6 and 8 years old. “Our mini van broke down on the toll road and we walked really far to get here. Our home is several blocks away in Tustin Ranch. Can you please give us a ride?”

My instincts told me never let a stranger in your car. But he had 3 small children. Was this the profile of a serial killer? I didn’t think so. His plea was genuine and his kids looked hot and tired. “Sure, I said. Let me pull around and come to you by the sidewalk.” I drove through the light towards Target and made a U-turn to the father and his kids. “Come on in,” I told them. They all piled into my SUV and I had just enough room for everyone. The toddler used Jessie’s car seat, two bigger kids in the back with the toddler, and the man got into the front passenger seat. “Thank you so much. You don’t know how much this means to us. It’s very hot out. My wife is on her way home from work to help with the car.” (What’s weird is Jessie is with me almost all the time. I wouldn’t have the room for all of them if she was in her car seat. Was this meant to be?)

It was a quick drive down Jamboree to Tustin Ranch and they requested to be dropped off at the gate. The kids thanked me several times on their ride home. They were a very sweet family. I don’t even remember any of their names. All I know is they were happy to be home.

That few minutes of helping them really made a difference.

It’s great to look for opportunities to help someone, especially during the holidays with the spirit of giving. But what would be even more meaningful, is if we could live out that purpose 365 days a year. So even after the holidays are over and we get back into the hum drum of our normal routine, keep an eye out for someone in need. A few minutes of your time can make a huge difference to someone. My hope is that by helping others ¬†this will cause a “pay it forward” phenomenon. That person will help someone else.

Random acts of kindness are awesome.