It's easy to get caught up in our daily routines-- everyone is in a hurry. For example, I wake up at 5am and I'm not home from work until 6pm. It's always a hurry-up-and-wait scenario. When you're tired and you just want to get back to your comfort zone, it's easy to feel a sense of entitlement, like everyone else is in your way, delaying you from doing what you want. Sitting in traffic, standing in lines at the grocery store… we all lose patience.
I've been taking the bus to and from work lately. It forces me to slow down and accept that I don't have control over my own schedule. I'll get there when I get there, I remind myself. I’ve spent the last few weeks of my commute starring down at my iPhone screen, checking email and reading news, but the other day, I decided to keep my phone in my purse and observe some of the people who ride the bus with me every day.
I counted three young men who gladly gave up their seats for older women. They didn't take a second to think about it-- each one of them immediately acknowledged that it was the right thing to do. I couldn’t help but smile at their kind gesture. We like to think that even at the end of a long day, we are still able to use our best judgment.
Purple Lady- She seems like a sweet older woman. I call her purple lady because she wears purple from head-to-toe every day. I was quick to judge her "fashion" choices until I heard her tell a great story:
"I never had grandchildren of my own. I used to run a day care center, but it seems I can’t keep up with the kids in my old age. There's a little girl at my morning bus stop whose favorite color is purple. It always makes her happy when we match in our purple outfits and I love seeing her happy."
While I may not be brave enough to wear purple from head-to-toe, I can’t help but admire the woman. It’s amazing when a small action can have so much meaning.
An elementary-school aged boy got on the bus and explained to the driver that he had no money, but missed his school bus. The driver let him get on, but wasn't happy that he couldn't pay his fare. It amazed me to see how many strangers reached into their wallets to help the boy pay his bus fare. The kindness of strangers often seems like a rarity, but it doesn’t need to be.
Something powerful happens when we slow down to help each other out and see the good in others. Snap judgments can get the best of us and we need to be reminded that people are kind. It sounds silly to think that we need to be reminded of such a basic lesson. When we can’t see the good in our everyday dealings, we need to create it, whether that be opening a door for someone or asking the barista about her day.
Everyone wants to feel acknowledged, it’s truly the least we can do for one another. Regretfully, this is something I have, somewhat, forgotten in my adult life and instead, I’ve been rushing through the day or distracted by my cell phone. I think about how much I could have learned if I took on this mindset sooner. We come to understand great things just by watching how other people interact. The goal is that we take something away from those lessons and continue to treat others with kindness as often as possible.
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