Do you remember last summer reading the article about the little boy who asked his mailman for junk mail? Turns out the boy was desperate to have anything to read. His family couldn’t afford to buy books, nor could they afford bus fare to venture to the library. The mailman posted on Facebook a picture of the boy and his address and asked his friends to send books if they could. The message went viral and before long the boy had a shelf full of books.
I knew it was a tragedy to be a kid and not have any books, so I jumped in and sent the boy one of our favorite book series, The Wolves of the Beyond by Kathryn Lasky. I love being able to give in this way and it brings me incredible joy. Seeing the boy’s shelf full of books brought a smile to my face.
The other day I was thinking about him. I thought about how this event changed him. This will be a story he will likely tell his own grandchildren. This was probably a pivotal experience in this young boy’s journey, leaving him forever changed.
I wonder who he will be now because he was able to receive kindness from so many people from around the world? I wonder who he will grow into because of this? I wonder how many people he will help and how much kindness will he spread around the world? What kind of man will he be? What kind of work will he do because of this? These are just some of my musings as I think about this beautiful story, all because the mailman, Ron Lynch, knew this kid deserved to have some books.
To me, this goes further than buying someone’s cup of coffee. Not that there is anything wrong with that. An event like this changes lives. It restores people’s belief in humanity and that there is still goodness and kindness in the world. This event taught the boy that there are people who care and that they do nice things for others. What kinds of ripple effects will this create?
A few years ago I was behind 2 young girls in the grocery line. They were short on their purchase so I asked the cashier how much they needed. I gave the girls 50 cents or so and asked them if they knew what paying it forward means. They didn’t so I explained that when someone does something nice for them, they can turn around and do something nice for someone else. Their faces lit up, they gave me a big grin, and said “thank you!” What are the possibilities that they will go out into the world sharing kindness with others? That’s what it’s all about!!!
What kindnesses can you contribute to the world? Perhaps a sub-for-Santa at Christmas time, purchasing groceries for a family who lost a job, helping a friend move, taking dinner to a sick friend, writing “you matter” with sidewalk chalk at a nearby walkway, putting a $5 bill on the back of a public bathroom door with a cute note. There are so many things we can do!!! And don’t forget an important part, when it’s your turn to receive a random act of kindness, ALLOW YOURSELF TO RECEIVE! You deserve it too.