‘A random act of kindness, no matter how small, can make a tremendous impact on someone else’s life.’
This quotation, from Roy T. Bennett’s book The Light in the Heart, is the second most popular ‘kindness’ quotation on Goodreads. The most popular is this, by Bob Dylan:
‘Behind every beautiful thing, there’s some kind of pain.’
Did you hear in the news recently of a beautiful gesture made via a book? A lady in Missouri named Ashley bought a book from her local Target store, and when she came to read it she discovered, tucked into the pages, a five-dollar bill and this note:
To the person who buys this book.
I am having a tough day. I thought maybe I could brighten someone else’s with this little surprise. Go buy a coffee, a donut or a face mask.
Practice some self-care today. Remember that you are loved, you are amazing, you are strong.
This random and anonymous act of kindness has indeed made an impact. Ashley herself decided to ‘pay it forward’, the BBC reported, and has since left a gift card along with a note in the library of the university where she works.
She said: ‘I made a point of ending my note with the same words Lisa wrote to me: “Remember that you are loved, you are amazing, you are strong”.’
Given that the news went viral around the world, we can hope that others were similarly inspired.
In my thought piece ‘On DOING good’, I write: ‘Being good is not enough! We must not just strive to be good; we must DO good. We do not need to be philanthropists; we need to DO philanthropic work.’ This news story illustrates how the simplest of acts can make such a difference. It cost very little time and energy for Lisa to leave that note and the bill, but my goodness, what a ripple effect – news outlets around the world have picked up the story.
I especially love the idea of using books as vehicles for random acts of kindness. I have written recently on rewarding readers with free books; it is even better though, it seems to me, to receive an unexpected gift of meaning – of inspiration and comfort and love – within the pages of a book. Imagine how Lisa felt, knowing that her little kindness was out there in the world, waiting to be discovered.
It is, indeed, a beautiful thing.