“….AND BE YE KIND ONE TO ANOTHER…” It makes the world a little better

A lady tells a story about an encounter she had some time back while she was out shopping with a friend. As they went about shopping, an employee at the shop—a young lady who seemed to have a mental disability—walked up to the customers and asked if there was anything she could help them with.

“Not right now, but I’ll be sure to let you know if I need anything”, was the kind response the customer gave to the mentally-challenged shop attendant.

Surprisingly, this response came as a shock to the employee and she asked the customers if they could wait for a minute. She then dashed away. You can imagine the shock of the customers. They had done nothing wrong and there they were being told to wait.

Not too long after, the employee returned with another woman who happened to be the manager at the shop. The manager’s first question was to know if the customers had really spoken that kindly to the employee. They responded in the affirmative and this was what the manager said:

“I just want to thank you on behalf of the store and everyone here. The last customer who she (referring to the mentally-challenged employee) tried to help yelled at her because she has a disability. You just made her day!”

You would appreciate the pleasant surprise this would be for the customers. Their little show of kindness had brightened the day for someone who least expected it. According to the customers, the manager even went ahead to give them discounts for their purchases.

There is another story from 2016 of a homeless man who had been travelling around until he came to Chick-Fil-A restaurant. Obviously exhausted from his travels, he was not looking too well. He walked to the counter and asked if they would spare him some leftovers. The waiter went in to call the manager while the man stood by waiting. All the while, the other customers around tried as much as possible to stay clear of the unshaven and shabby-looking gentleman. But he kept his cool and only smiled back at those trying their best to shun him.

Eventually, the manager came in to meet the gentleman. I am sure many of those around might have expected the manager to kick the homeless man out. But to their surprise, the manager did something so unexpected that it made the news. He told the gentleman that he was going to give him more than just leftovers or scraps. He would give him a full, warm meal. But he would do so, on one condition—the homeless man would allow him to pray with him.

The homeless stranger agreed and right there and then, in the middle of the busy restaurant, the manager laid his hand on the man and shared a prayer with him. You can imagine how touched the gentleman would have felt. This little show of kindness from the manager at that Chick-fil-A restaurant is going to be told and re-told for generations to come.

I also came across a story involving an obviously ill-mannered customer who was trying his very best to impress a very beautiful lady at a café. All his attempts proved futile as the lady was obviously not interested in his advances. When it got to his turn to be served, the barista attending to him made a mistake with his order.

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The man sensing the opportunity to impress the lady began lambasting the poor barista. The young girl apologised to the customer and even told him that she was going to re-make the cup of coffee. The irate customer at that juncture turns to the lady he had been trying to chat up and started complaining to her, using some very unsavoury language.

From the girl’s behaviour, it was evident that she was new on the job. This was clear to the other customers but that particular customer was none the wiser. The lady eventually came back with a second cup but just when the customer saw it he went into overdrive with his tirade. He insisted that it was still not the particular beverage he had ordered for. His verbal assaults were too much for the young barista who apologised for the second time and went ahead to remake the cup of coffee for the second time.

But at that moment, the lady the customer was trying to impress had had enough. She instantly interrupted the man, sternly rebuking him for his insults towards the barista. As the female customer continued rebuking the man, the other customers started cheering and clapping for the female customer. The embarrassed man could do nothing but to walk out of the café. The kind actions of the lady saved the day for an otherwise traumatised girl who was having some difficulties common with being new on the job.

There is an incident narrated by a father who had taken his 5-year old autistic and mentally-challenged daughter to the supermarket. While there, the sheer number of people and the noise in the supermarket triggered a reaction from the girl and she started causing a commotion. Other customers stood and stared at the man and the daughter. Some were obviously infuriated at the man for not controlling the little girl as she screamed amidst throwing a massive tantrum.

As the man struggled to hold on to his daughter while at the same time trying to get his items checked at the pay-in counter, the cashier did something amazing.  He stopped what he was doing and gently took the little girl by her hand. He spoke to her softly and managed to calm her down, all the while giving her a very big smile. The kind gesture was so unexpected that it won the heart of the father. He was truly grateful for the sympathetic attitude of the young man and the customer left with a smile.

When the customer got home, he posted a very touching narration of what transpired using the opportunity to thank not only the cashier who helped out but also the supermarket for employing a kind person like that young man.

There is another touching incident of a dirty, wretched homeless man who walked into a McDonald with nor shoes on. Just when the barefooted man sat down, a young man walked in and gave him his shoes. This so touched the other customers around that an elderly man got up from where he was eating with his family, walked up to the homeless and offered to buy him a meal.

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As the homeless man walked up to the counter for his food, another customer slipped a 20 dollar bill under his cup. A young girl, whose father had bought the meal for the man, was so touched that she went to the car and came back with $3.00 for the man.

It was as if a contagion of kindness had broken out in the eatery that moment. Before long, the young man whose actions had triggered the series of kind acts came back into the restaurant and handed over some clothes to the man. One act of kindness had inspired others to extend an arm of kindness to a fellow human being.

The stories could go on and on but I guess the point has been made. Famed Greek storyteller, Aesop said “No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.” He was absolutely right. All around us there are opportunities for us to show kindness to each other. Sometimes we are just too preoccupied in our own lives that we fail to even lift our heads to see what is happening in the lives of others. First century Roman philosopher, Lucius Annaeus Seneca, said, “Wherever there is a human being, there is an opportunity for a kindness.” It is true that we all have our challenges but if we as much as took a glance at what others are going through, we would notice that some have it worse than us.

I have come across lots of company policies, most of them thoroughly thought through and well-crafted but I am yet to find one in which kindness at the workplace was a stated company policy. An organisation in which kindness is encouraged throughout its walls is going to be a great place to work. When there is a collective embracement of kindness, individuals would be prepared to give their best.

It is a fact that the way employees feel at work goes a long way to determine the way they would treat customers. Therefore the quality of service that would be provided by employees in an environment of kindness would also be top-notch. Like in the examples above, employees will go out of their way to make even total strangers feel at home. Employees will defend their customers and would not allow those who are unkind to have their way.

If love makes the world go around, then kindness keeps it going. As you go about your day this week, this month and this year, it will help if you would look out for an opportunity to do a deed of kindness to someone. “Kindness is the language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see,” says American writer and humourist, Mark Twain. Go out of your way to be kind to someone for kindness is a policy that will never go out of fashion.

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