By Sarah Tu
Too often, we overlook the opportunities to reach out and do something nice for someone else. Simple acts of kindness or appreciation that could have far reaching effects are thus kept hidden from view. Saying “thank you” is stifled for fear of self embarrassment or because we are too self-centered, but when something so simple can make such a positive impact, it would be a shame not to take advantage of it.
While walking down the street in the International District with Bob Santos, unfamiliar faces stopped to say hello and strike up a conversation or silently nod and smile as Bob passed by.
It seems everyone knows the influential Seattleite who first made his mark on the area through his activism for the International District.
When later asked what his secret to success is, Bob Santos said it’s to be kind to others and say hello to everyone you meet.
In the International District, there are many elderly people who miss out on the daily social interaction they need. Perhaps their kids are busy and haven’t visited them for a prolonged period or they are widowed and live alone.
If you were in this situation craving some social interaction and someone stopped to say hello and start a conversation, it might just be the highlight of your week.
It goes to show how something as simple as saying hello instantly uplifts a person’s spirit. By going out of your way to make someone else feel good, you are also causing them to pass on the positive energy. Everybody knows what it feels like to be gloomy, and when someone takes that extra step to say or do something nice, it can make a huge difference.
I once doubted that a simple gesture could really make a difference in someone else’s life, but over the next couple days, I decided to be more attentive and do something nice for a person and observe the results.
The opportunity arose when I was at a busy bus stop and passengers rushed to get a seat on board, pushing past a lady with a bad knee.
I could have easily brushed past her like the others, but instead, I offered her some assistance and waited patiently behind her as she slowly climbed onto the bus. Her look of gratitude was enough to tell me that she appreciated the small gesture.
We never know when someone needs that extra encouragement, so when an opportunity arises to step outside of your own selfish desires, make a simple gesture of kindness.
Open the door for someone who has their hands full. When you hear bad news about a friend, don’t hesitate to call them and comfort them. Take the initiative and spread a little light in the world. ♦