The Gift That Costs Nothing and Benefits All

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It all started at a simple coffee meeting with a friend.

We entered the cafe, greeted by the clinking of the doorbell and a barista with an expression shadowed by both his visor and his evident boredom. However, as we approached the counter, he took a closer look at my friend. Recognition flickered across his face then he broke into grin.

“Hey, whatever you’re having is on us today after what you did last week,” he said. I glanced quizzically between them.

The barista then explained that my friend had paid for the customer waiting behind her the week prior. Unbeknownst to my friend, that customer decided to pass it on and pay for the person behind him. When the following customer received the gesture, inspired, she chose to leave payment for whoever came in next. As did the next customer.

It was passed on by six following customers. That means one little action directly impacted the day of seven different people (eight, to include the now-amiable barista!).

I’m telling you this because I have some exceptionally good news for anyone who is worried about the bills that grow tenfold as the stack of packages grows under the tree. For anyone who is caught in the chaos and stress of the season.  

For anyone who has lost sight of the magic.

Hearing about this small action my friend made reminded me the value of a gift that we can all give, and that we all need. It is a gift that feels as good to give as it does to receive. A gift that is one-size fits all, for him and for her, always in stock, and 100% free.

You heard me. Free, yes.

Because in a world where everything comes with a price tag, it is free to be kind. Kindness is truly one of the greatest gifts you can give, more valuable than anything tied with a bow.

It amazes me just how quickly we fall prey to the illusion that the more we have, the more powerful we are. As California was devoured in flames last month, I was reminded that our possessions can disappear in an instant. I was reminded that we don’t …. own anything.

Not really.

No matter how much of our savings, paychecks,and pensions we put down on cars, homes, on a piece of land – mother nature is quick to remind us that no, we don’t own things on this earth. We are part of this earth. And we are all part of it together. One of the most inspiring things was seeing so many people come together after the wreck of devastation. It is not what we have, but what we are that counts.

Possessions are temporary. It is kindness, it is love, it is connection, it is inspiration, it is hope that lives on.

That friend of mine who unassumingly initiated the chain of kindness in the coffee shop? She’s battling illness. She recently lost her sight. She doesn’t have a lot to give. But she took one small action that reached far greater than its monetary value of a few dollars.

I am challenging myself to consciously do at least one random act of kindness each day this month. Will you join me?

If only ten of us decide to, that’s still 300 kinder moments added into the world this month. And boy, could the world use them. Let’s make that holiday spirit meter overflow.

You don’t have to volunteer for hours and hours a week to make a difference. Even the smallest acts of kindness spark indelible magic.

Compliment a stranger.

Spark a genuine conversation with the cashier.

Remind those around you that you love them a little extra.

Write a positive note on a napkin at a restaurant.

Let someone go ahead of you in line.

Write a thank you card to someone who makes a difference.

Donate goods to a family in need.

Hold the door for someone.

Leave a note of encouragement in public places.

 

Create that magic. Live that magic. Be that magic.