I had the most interesting and incredible experience recently. I was at a work conference out of town and was in a hurry to get to a meeting. I was rushing out of the hotel room and had to wait for the housekeeping staff and their large cart.
There were three 20-ish young women maneuvering the large cleaning cart out of the elevator. It looked like all three of them were required to push and pull at the same time to set it free. I patiently waited to the side.
Once the cart was out, one of the women turned to me and asked “Can I tell you something?”
I had a million thoughts run through my mind in this moment. Do I have something on my face? Is my zipper down? Did I throw my towels on the floor when I was supposed to hang them up to save the environment? A flurry of worry crossed my mind.
I must have frozen for long enough that she felt to ask her question again, “Can I tell you something?” Shaken from my trance, and not being able to determine what this could possibly be about, I nodded. What she said next shocked me:
“You have the most beautiful blue eyes!”
She smiled as I stood there awkwardly embarrassed by her sentiment. She smiled and she and her associates moved on with a wave. I blurted out an awkward thank you and wished them a nice day.
Why would such a statement shock me so much? In fact, I am still feeling the aftershocks of that event. I cannot stop thinking about it.
We are surrounded daily by people who are impatient, irritated, quick to anger, and ready to criticize at the drop of a hat. We have to deal with short tempers, flaming, disgruntled, and entitled people everywhere we go. We live in a generation of bird flippers and road rage. It is not pretty.
Television, Facebook, the internet, and movies are heavily laced with profanity, critical commentaries, and blasting of politicians, celebrities, and business professionals. One does not have to click more than a few times on the mouse before finding another rant of fault-finding. We are fed a steady diet of negative words wherever we go!
In our day, being negative has been made into a full-contact, no-holds-barred sport where gossiping gladiators fight to the death with sharp tongues as their weapons. It is brutal!
Why not try a little kindness instead?
Mark Twain said, “I can go for two months on a good compliment!” I am not sure if this is true, but I am still feeling the sweet buzz of that spontaneous beautiful blue eyes comment! It made my month and may just last into the next one! I find myself wanting to go back for more of that kind of medicine!
When all else fails, how about we try a little kindness? When things do not go quite as well as we hoped for or planned for, how about if we speak kindly? When people let us down, cut us off, or wait until the last minute to merge over, what if we simply responded with kindness?
Great things happen when we are kind! Let us think to compliment! Let us think to praise! Let us think to speak more kindly!
I once was challenged by a 14 year old boy to see if I could go for 24 hours without complaining or criticizing! It was so very difficult! I had not realized how much unkindness had entered into my mind and my words! This was a difficult challenge! I finally made it for 24 hours and it changed me! Kindness works! Please try it!
A beautiful young woman I have never seen before and will likely never see again said something kind to me at the elevator. She has no idea how much it touched me! I may never forget it! That is the lasting impact of kindness.
In the words of a religious hymn, “Let us oft speak kind words to each other at home or where’er we may be!” You will be surprised at the wonderful results.