The Kindness of Strangers

There is so much negativity in the world these days. We are surrounded by it and it is constantly reported in the media.

I prefer to focus on more positive things. I was thinking about this today at lunch. I was eating a salad in the mall food court near where I work. A young mother was holding her toddler son in her arms, while trying to position the stroller and place something inside it. The stroller lost balance and began to fall. A man sitting at a nearby table jumped up to catch the stroller. The mother expressed her thanks while her young son stared at the stranger with wide eyes. The man returned to his seat and the mother resumed what she was doing.

It was all over in a matter of seconds and I’m sure no one thought twice about it. It was just one of those every day courtesies that people do all the time.

But as I thought about it I realized how much we need other people to help us get through every day. And isn’t it true that it is the little things in life that really matter? Had the man not jumped up to help, the stroller would have crashed down, perhaps hitting the child on the way. All eyes would have turned to the mother and I can imagine she would have been somewhat embarassed. It was just a little incident that was avoided because of a man’s quick thinking, concern, and kindness. Not really a big deal, I guess.

But, in this season of gift giving, maybe the best gift isn’t a large expensive present, but instead the present of being present…and there to extend a kindness and a smile.

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