Thanksgiving was just three days behind us, and the Charleston South Carolina weather was surprisingly warm. My thirteen-year-old granddaughter decided to go for a walk, but as is often the case with Maggie, she walked too far and wore herself out which necessitated a call to her mother on her iPhone, the one permanently attached to her.
“Mom, I walked all the way to Harris Teeter and I’m way too tired to walk home. Can you pick me up at the store?”
She clicked off and then, like any other teenager, immediately began texting. Right in the middle of a message to her bestie, Maggie felt a tap on her arm. She jumped. Images of Freddy Krueger quickly produced her fight-or-flight reflex.
When she turned to face the person tapping her arm, there was no monster. The sad eyes gazing into Maggie’s belonged to a frail, homeless woman wearing a frayed mask.
“I was wondering,” the woman said, “if you would buy me a slice of pizza.”
Maggie might have turned away. She might have replied with a loud NO! GO AWAY! She might have ignored the woman.
But she didn’t.
“Sure,” she said to the woman. “I’ll buy you a slice.”
Before Maggie got into the store to buy it, the woman called out to her, “Tell ‘em to put lots of onions and pepperoni on it, but no anchovies.”
The woman’s last-minute order tickled Maggie and made her grin as she walked into the store. Then she did something I don’t think many kids her age would have thought to do. Turning back, she asked the woman, “How about a Coke or a Pepsi to go with the pizza?”
The woman grinned. “Oh yes. A Coke would be good.”
When my granddaughter told me about the incident, I was proud of her, so glad that in a world gone crazy with greed, her generosity of spirit was and is, alive and well.
Socrates must have had a low opinion of youth when he said, “Children today love luxury; they have bad manners, contempt for authority; they show disrespect for elders and love chatter instead of exercise.”
He had more to say on the subject about kids in his ancient world. I quote him now only to illustrate how easy it is, even today, to criticize and give up on our young people, especially teenagers. Maggie’s good heart and her generous spirit negated what Socrates said. Maybe adults need to look deeper into the hearts of our young. After all, they are the future.
For over four years, we have lived by a different set of rules than we did BC (before Covid). None of us are likely to admit it, but due to the pandemic and the need to stay safe, it was often easy to adopt a “Me Attitude.” Maybe we didn’t completely forget about other people, but out of necessity, we concentrated on family and friends in our personal orbit. It’s time to change that.
A few years ago, people all over our country participated in Random Acts of Kindness. They didn’t do it because it was good for them or made them feel better about themselves, but because it was the right thing to do. Books were written recapping experiences of people who randomly paid it forward by helping total strangers when they saw a need and fulfilled it. Simple as that. The world was made a little kinder by their random acts.
We have lived through, and even now still struggle with viruses that curb the lifestyles of people in our world. Perspectives shifted and forced us to change our way of thinking about so much when Covid-19 hit. It is important for us to remember that we are all in this thing together. Although there is not a total solution to all the woes of the world, we can still make a difference by incorporating kindness in our lives.
Let’s bring back Random Acts of Kindness. It's the kind thing to do.
What the world needs now is love, sweet love.
It’s the only thing that there's just too little of.
What the world needs now is love, sweet love
No, not just for some, but for everyone.