From the passenger side of my car, the door opened, and a woman said, “I am a nurse. Are you ok?” After doing a quick check, I was surprised to discover although stunned, I was ok. The airbags had deployed so I couldn’t see outside the car. “I’m fine,” I replied. Just moments earlier, I had driven into a busy intersection on my way to a hotel in Florida. I misjudged the distance of an oncoming vehicle and it hit the back driver side of my car.
But here is the amazing thing. During the next two hours, strangers who would never see me again, were so helpful and kind. When the police arrived Deputy Bosley was so calm and not at all scolding. When my husband, who was following me in another car, cut the airbags so that I could get out of the car, I said to the other driver, “I am so sorry,” and he said nicely, “Accidents happen.”
“No act of kindness, however small, is ever wasted.”Aesop, The Lion and the Mouse
Almost immediately, Mr. Rylander, the manager of the nearby hotel where we planned to stay came out and inquired how he could help. Then he sent one of his employees with a large rolling laundry cart and several people started to unload the contents of the car and took it to our hotel room. (This unloading was a huge job as we were transitioning from our winter stay in Florida to our home in Michigan.) The hotel receptionist, Christina, was also so helpful and inquired every time we passed her, “What may I do for you?”
The next day as we were checking out of the hotel, I again thanked the receptionist and asked her to thank the manager and she said, “Our manager is always kind and compassionate to all and encourages us to be kind, caring and compassionate.” Yes, fleeting interactions of kindness do feed our souls and lighten our hearts and give us hope about the goodness of people. I learned from my friend David Myers, who is an author and teacher that these little acts of kindness are called “micro kindnesses” and that they do matter.
In his article, The Happy Science of Micro-Friendships,” David reminds us that, sometimes micro kindnesses are, indeed, long remembered. He goes on to write:
“It’s understandable, then, that with fewer pandemic-era face-to-face meetings, parties, and coffee klatches, people’s mental health has suffered. Separation from our nearest and dearest has taken an emotional toll. But what about those fleeting interactions—a brief chat in passing, a friendly exchange with the mail carrier, a wee blether with the ride share driver? Do these pandemic-diminished micro connections also feed our souls? The consistent verdict of some inspiring social experiments is Yes.”
I experienced many such micro kindnesses the day of my car accident, and not only did they lift my spirits then and put a grateful smile in my heart, but those micro kindnesses will be long remembered.
So, please pass on micro acts of kindness to those who you meet today.