18 Oct Random Acts of Kindness
Last week I was RAK’D, and it made quite an impression on me. Not familiar with being a RAK recipient? Let me explain….
Last month my family did a three-way car swap. As part of the intra-family horse-trading, my mother and brother drove a vehicle from Arkansas to Virginia, then drove my car back to Arkansas. All the paperwork has been completed and everyone is happy, but one final logistical detail remained—I needed a license plate bracket installed on the front of my “new-to-me” automobile.
The part was ordered and last Thursday, in the pouring rain, I went to pick it up. But, it was clearly the wrong size. Not to worry—a very helpful young man re-ordered the correct part and sent the wrong one back. The following day the right bracket had arrived, and I drove over to get it, hoping someone would be available to install it for me, as well.
While friendly, the first two people I encountered were not overly helpful or encouraging. I didn’t have an appointment, after all, and I was assured that a work order ticket would be necessary—which would necessitate waiting for a technician to become available. I knew that the entire process for installing the bracket required putting two screws in the front grille of the car, but I also knew I didn’t have the right drill to do it myself. I wondered how long I’d be waiting for the sake of these two small holes.
I was directed to an assistant service manager who, I was told, would write up the work order ticket and give me an estimate of my wait time. I told the man what I needed and handed him the bracket. He said he’d be sure I got taken care of, and then I watched him disappear through a door that seemed to lead to the service bays. A minute later he reappeared, drill in hand, and promptly sat down crossed-legged in front of my car. Five minutes later, the bracket was installed, and then without even being prompted, he reached into the car, got the license plate from the dash and bolted it into place. No fuss, no charge, and in less than ten minutes I was driving out of there, profoundly grateful to be on the receiving end of a Random Act of Kindness, or RAK.
Kindness is an underappreciated value. We encounter so much impatience, anger, rudeness, and self-centeredness as we move through our days—people cutting us off in traffic, treating the elderly or children like an imposition, expecting immediate attention to every little whim or want, experiencing waiting as if it is a personal affront. Respect is disappearing from our civil discourse and also from the discourse in many of our homes. Yes, we are busy, and in the midst of our frantic days, we seem to have forgotten the incredible power of a word or act of kindness: a thank you spoken, a touch offered, assistance given without being asked, a gentle response, making eye contact.
It seems to be less and less often that someone does or says something kind just for kindness’ sake—like the man who took it upon himself to install the license plate bracket on my car. He didn’t have to do that. He could have “followed the rules,” filled out the work order ticket, required me to wait and to pay for this simple service, but he didn’t. I so seldom experience kindness in this type of setting that it made a deep impression on me. It stood out precisely because it was so unexpected. The man hardly seemed to think he’d done anything special or out of the ordinary; in fact, he was a bit taken aback by my gratitude and thanks. This encounter may well have been of so little consequence to him that he didn’t think to share this detail of his day with a single soul. But I’ve shared my experience with several people, and now I’m blogging about it. Which leads me to wonder….
What might be possible if we trusted a bit more in the power of kindness and endeavored to practice it more intentionally each day? The man I encountered had no idea that his random act of kindness would have any impact beyond a lady’s license plate being properly installed, but his act has inspired me to act and what if my act inspires someone else? How many ripples might there be? How far might they go? He will never know it, nor will I, nor will any of us. But God does. And God uses our kind words and deeds in ways far more profoundly than any of us can imagine. So, let me encourage you to RAK someone today, to bless the world with a Random Act of Kindness.
Yours for the Kingdom,