I am writing this on February 17th, 2018, which happens to be my niece Tesa's 12th birthday, my stepbrother Ian's 23rd birthday, and it's also National Random Acts of Kindness Day!
I recently remembered a random act of kindness that someone did for me, many years ago. I was in first grade. My teacher was Mrs. Brenneke, and Mrs. Brenneke's rule was that we had to hang our jackets on one of the hooks in the back before going to our desks. There were two rows of hooks: the top row and the bottom row. I was the shortest kid in class, but I could reach the bottom row if I stood on my tiptoes, so I always used the bottom row.
One day I was late and all the bottom row hooks were taken. I tried to reach the top row on tiptoes, but of course I couldn't. I jumped up and tried to reach a hook that way, but that didn't work either.
I didn't know what to do. I thought I might even start crying. And then, a girl named Xandra came to my rescue. She was taller than I was. She was also a lot more popular. I can't remember her ever talking to me any other time. But that day, she got up from her desk and asked, “Do you need help?” When I said yes, she took my jacket and hung it up for me.
Maybe this doesn't feel like a big deal story to you, but I can assure you it felt like a big deal at the time. And since I can still remember it now, more than thirty years later, I guess it still feels like a big deal. Sometimes I think that the biggest moments of our lives are actually the small ones. Put them together, and they make up who we are.
Xandra may not remember that moment; she may not even remember me. But I remember her. What she did that day - it was the time I can point to when I really understood the importance of noticing people, and choosing to be kind.
So thank you for that life lesson, Xandra. I promise to put some random kindness in the world today, in your honor, wherever you are...