Green: Random acts of kindness matter more than we know


There’s not enough good news in the news these days. A few years ago, there was a “Random Acts of Kindness” trend, and my heart warmed at all the random acts of kindness I heard about in the media. It was good to see this simple character trait become popular. No matter the results, it’s always good to treat others the way we’d want to be treated.


But sometimes, these attempted good deeds can go wrong. Like the time I mailed a friend some chocolate brownies. I asked her later if she got them, and she said, “Oh, those were brownies?” Apparently, I hadn’t packed them well, and they got smashed. She thought I’d mailed her a box of dirt!

Then there was the time in college when I tried to help a friend move out of his apartment. I decided to mop the floors, and I felt so smart and domestic when I added a little bleach to the mop water. Those floors were gleaming! I didn’t feel so smart, though, when bleached-out footprints formed on his carpet. I didn’t think about the bleach getting on my shoes… Oops!

These kindness bloopers don’t just happen to me. A friend shared that once, she bought a gourmet chocolate cake and left it anonymously on another friend’s doorstep. The person thought it was an old cake nobody wanted, and promptly tossed it in the trash.

Sometimes, our acts of kindness aren’t received the way we want. People seem ungrateful. They might even scoff at our attempts. That makes us less willing to be kind in the future. But our acts of kindness are just as much about becoming the type of person we want to be as about helping other people. So if we do something kind, and the recipient doesn’t realize or care what we’ve done, we can still feel satisfied about our actions. After all, wouldn’t you rather be the kind one and have someone else be the ungrateful one, rather than the other way around?

After all, we never know whose life will be changed because of a simple act. Take my friend, Kim, for example. Once, she witnessed the car in front of her hit something on the highway. Two of its wheels blew out. The driver pulled over, and although she and her daughter were on their way to a fun shopping day at the mall, they decided to stop and offer help.

The man was holding his chest; he’d been driving himself to the hospital because he thought he was having a heart attack. Kim transported him to the hospital, where he later did have a heart attack. Fortunately, he got the care he needed, was hospitalized for a week, and survived.

So in spite of my occasional gaffes, I’ll keep looking for ways to show kindness. I’ll do my best to brighten others’ days and make their lives a little easier, a little more pleasant.

Just don’t ask me to mop your floors.

“Love is kind . . .” 1 Corinthians 13:4.

Renae Brumbaugh Green is a bestselling author and award-winning humor columnist. She lives in Stephenville with her handsome, country-boy husband, nearly perfect children, and far-too-many animals. Connect with Renae at www.RenaeBrumbaugh.com