No matter the color of your skin, age, religious affiliation, education level, sexual orientation or socio-economic status, each of us that have experienced kindness in some shape or form can attest to the fact that kindness is one of the most heart-warming, memorable occurrences one can ever encounter in this life time. Yes, many of us would like to make more money, drive that dream car, or take the much deserved vacation, but there is something about the power of kindness that makes even these things feel minuscule in importance when compared to a random act of kindness.
Ask yourself, when was the last time you performed such an act? Was it prompted by the forces of nature or an overwhelming urge from within? Was it done so with no expectation or was there an ulterior motive behind your gesture? Many of us are familiar with the old proverb “You reap what you sow.” It is my firm belief that this maxim isn’t applicable to farmers only, but to anyone who exercises the supreme wisdom therein. Briefly restated, for every action there is a reaction. For every cause there is an effect.
Last week in Beijing, I was looking to return to my apartment so that I could begin preparing myself for my evening performance at XIU BAR. I had had an extremely long day of rehearsals and shopping and wanted nothing more than a quick ride home so that I could rest for a few minutes before showering and getting dressed. I spotted a taxi driver who would momentarily become available as he was just letting out his previous passenger and I quickly walked in his direction and stood patiently next to the passenger door. When the passenger exited, I climbed in the back seat, said hello politely to the driver and to the best of my ability recited the address in Chinese. Before I could finish, not only was the driver starring at me in what I interpreted as a scornful and unwelcomed glare, he began yelling at me and sucking his teeth. Now, I am aware that because he was Chinese and because I do not speak the language fluently, there may have been a bit of a barrier between the two of us, but as I have lived in Beijing for two months now, I am fairly certain that this had very little to do with my mispronunciation of my address and more to do with his “bad attitude.” I made several attempts to calmly explain where I wanted to go, but it was to no avail as this driver absolutely had determined he did not want to be bothered with me. So, I opened the door, gave it a nice slam to express my disapproval of his customer service (for ever action there is a reaction) and proceeded to find another mode of transportation home. Within seconds, another driver pulled up to me and in very broken but understandable English, asked me where I wanted to go. I once again recited my address and he graciously welcomed me. When I asked him the cost of the trip, he explained very kindly his price, to which I initially tried to bargain, but ultimately agreed. On the ride home, though he could not speak English very well, he tried to the best of his ability to communicate with me, going beyond what was necessary. I appreciated his efforts which I deemed to be very genuine and sincere. When I arrived to my destination, I paid him what he asked and gave him an additional tip; that judging from his smile, was a nice little chunk of change. It wasn’t about the amount of the tip; however, it was more about my wanting to express to him in deed that because of his kindness, he motivated me to be kind to him in return, unlike the previous asshole.
Challenge yourself to show some random act of kindness to someone or something today and watch how the Universe will in return be kind to you, for this is the power of kindness. (Pictured: Driver and me)