I didn’t know it was World Kindness Day. I didn’t know there was a World Kindness Day. It seems rather silly to have all days that honor a vast array of things and this one in particular seems like a thing we shouldn’t have to be reminded of and yet, we do.
In my morning FB check, I saw a This is Her video short of some of President Trump’s brutal reactions to various female reporters. He yelled at them. He called them stupid. The insults were numerous and unnecessary. Long used to the way he speaks to others he does not agree with, I simply thought to myself, the world could be a little kinder. And then, I saw it was World Kindness Day.
I dismissed the thought and went on with my day designing jewelry, posting on Instagram, driving my husband to his doctor’s appointment, and then, breaking for lunch at a Michigan chain restaurant, Brann’s, near downtown Grand Rapids.
Irritation marred the whole day and I realized that I had never taken my psych meds that morning. I noted that the waitress didn’t smile and forgot to bring me my chili. We were pretty hungry that afternoon and while my husband ate a six ounce steak with mushrooms, I devoured a huge avocado and cranberry salad sprinkled with cheese and spirals of turkey. I hadn’t intended to be kind that day.
Then, I heard the waitress and another restaurant employee laughing loudly and jestering out the window to a woman holding a bent up and black markered cardboard sign faltering alongside the freeway ramp of U.S. 131. “She just fell!” In the dim of November’s day, the snow had just started to fall and whip the air.
I bent over the table frowning and whispered to my husband across my green crisp salad, “They are laughing at that homeless person outside.” It was World Kindness Day.
I kept looking out the window across the restaurant even as the workers moved on to the mundane rigors of preparing for the dinner rush. We were the only diners. The manager showed the workers where she wanted the new signs hung in the dining room.
The woman outside, huddled in generic muddy rust colored coat and black gloves didn’t seem to be having any luck getting attention from the three lanes of traffic hurrying to get through the light and maybe onto the freeway ramp or dive deep into the city to carry on whatever their Tuesday agenda was.
I asked my husband to give his rolls to the homeless. Since the waitress never brought me my white chicken chili, I told her to package it up to go. I put all the extra napkins inside the bag and my husband buttered each roll with the restaurant’s signature whipped cinnamon butter and put those inside with wrapped plastic utensils.
I paid for the meal with my debit card and tipped well anyway. We can’t really ask a city waitress to act better than our President, so why withhold money from a minority female for the precedent of behavior set by a bratty fat trust fund baby pretending to lead the country? I’m a fair person and that’s not fair.
I don’t know what she said. I don’t know what her sign said. I don’t know her story. I let my husband walk across the street and deliver the bag of food to her with wind and snow assaulting sky. I know he thoroughly enjoys helping people and it would mean something to him to give it to her. He did and we left.
I’m not the nicest person. I think I said the f word in the lobby of the radiology department of Blodgett Hospital last night when they lost the request for my husband’s x-rays. I have no problem blaming my bipolar disorder for any brash thing that could erupt from my being at any time but the truth is that honesty has always been my gift.
Handle it or not, do it or not, this world demands a kind touch. Not everyone is capable of this. It might be a complete waste of time expecting some people to deliver kindness. It can rob us of our time and energy to give our compassion to other people. The world is angry as a pet beaver right now. We need focus. Stop the noise and focus on doing what you can do on a personal level instead of looking to others to fill this void in society.
You might think it’s nothing. But to someone, it might be everything.