While some people look for positivity from other people, sometimes in order to get, you have to give first. Look for any opportunity to be a positive influence on someone today. Could you do it?
But how? Make someone’s day, make the positivity infectious. Even if it’s a smile. Even if you’re able to carry on a conversation. If you’re able to carry on a conversation, listen. Listen to what the other person is telling you. Give them your undivided attention. Put the phone away, unless you’ve decided to exchange contact information. See what happens?
I wish I could remember more details, but I’m reminded of a time, standing in line at Starbucks as I did every morning before work, a perfect stranger came up to me and offered to pay for my coffee. That totally made my day. The person said that it was a “random act of kindness,” and to “pay it forward.” I thought about this interaction for a few days, pondering about what it meant. You see, I’m really not used to that level of kindness.
I thought, “how dare he give me this burden of paying it forward!” Chuckling to myself, because I never believed that to be true for a single minute. I took an inventory of my feelings for a second, and I thought, “Hey this is a good thing. I feel good, and maybe I can make someone else feel good? Let me give it a shot. What really do I have to lose, a couple of bucks if that?” So, the next time I worked, I was going to pay my debt and pay it forward.
So the day came. It was a good thing I had a friendly relationship with the Barristas at my Starbucks – I’m mean, after all, I was a regular customer. So I’m standing in line and there was a mother with her teenage daughter standing in line. I said, “Excuse me, ladies, I would like to buy your coffees today. Consider it an act of kindness from a stranger, And don’t forget to pay it forward.”
What happened next was totally unexpected, while I was outside having my coffee, these two ladies – the mother with her teenage daughter – sat down with me and we started talking. I came to find out that the mother and the daughter were visiting the husband and father in the hospital. They were worried that the operation that he was about to undertake would be an extremely dangerous one.
They weren’t from there. They were from North Carolina – as I seem to remember. There simply for support. So the husband and father would know that he wasn’t alone. Hearing this, I then said, “Just the fact that you two are here with him, is enough hope for him to pull through.” At this, the young daughter started to cry – omg I so didn’t mean to do that. Through my most sincere apologies, and through the daughter’s tears, she said, “Just being able to tell someone about this is like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders. ” The mother agreed, she said that I was a good listener. That’s all they wanted – someone to tell just how they feel. I never saw them again after that. I don’t have the results of that conversation, but I can tell you that it seemed like the mother and the daughter just wanted to tell someone how they feel. A simple 10-minute conversation.
A simple 10-minute conversation – and a cup of coffee – that’s it. I don’t think that they were happy by the time they left me, but I could see their attitude change and I did see smiles. No. I didn’t change the situation.The father was still in the hospital. I just offered a glimmer of hope, I offered a release of worry, I offered my ears. But it seemed to be just what these two wanted. And they left saying that they’d pay forward the coffee kindness. You can’t ask for better than that, can you?