Question: How do you accept and react to kindness?
A wonderful experience happened to me this Saturday on the way to the mall.
Two children, a boy and a girl came running towards me with bottles on their hands if I want to have bottled water.
It was a surprising gesture and unsure whether this was for real. I wondered if they were doing fund-raising. I knelt to their level to ask them where their parents are and how much a bottle of water is.
As I was about to ask them, two adult women came up to me explaining what the children are doing.
“We are teaching the children to give without anything in return. We are teaching people to accept without giving in return.”
What a noble idea. A random act of kindness.
This incident excited me, and in an instant I wanted to ask these strangers a million and one questions: how did you do it; what made you do it; what are the reactions did you get from other people; how many bottles did you give away; how many bottles do you have left; what time did you start; and on and on and on…
Finally, I gave them a chance to respond to my questions.
Two mothers bought 700-16oz bottled water. Placed a sticker on all bottles with five different quotes:
- Smile at everyone, you’ll never know when someone may need it.
- If Plan A does not work, there are 25 more letters in the alphabets.
- Have a thirst for life. Every day is filled with possibilities.
- In your thirst for knowledge, be sure you don’t drown in all the information.
- Dig your well before you’re thirsty.
The bottle I have has quote #5.
A sudden change of attitude opened up between me, the mothers and the children. We are no longer stranger to each other. We were having such a great time chin wagging, and I ended up helping them give away the rest of the bottled water.
One young lady was so thankful that she happily accepted the water and said it was the best thing that happened to her all day since she had a “shitty” day at work.
A man refused and walked away saying no thanks; it’s not a bottle of beer.
A couple kept on bowing to us in gratitude. They must be Japanese or Korean or something.
When it was all done, the children and I were giving each other high-five. It was so much fun. I think I had more fun doing this than the mothers and the children. It was grand, just splendid.
These mothers provided a good example to their children how to be giving and continue giving 700 times fold. I told the children that I can’t wait to tell the children in my family about their good deeds. They were beaming with joy.
In retrospect, water is like kindness. Kindness must be continuously flowing like water. Water that is not moving becomes stagnant. It may be bottled, but in the long run, the water becomes cloudy, less appealing to drink. Water is life-giving.
It was time to say goodbye and Michael astonished me by hugging my waistline. He was that small. Then Raine followed. The three of us were hugging each other. I was speechless. The parents and I hugged each other as well, separately. No group hugs for adults.
I was full of gratitude to the two children, Raine and Michael, for their infectious kindness. Thanking them for stopping me in my tracks.
To the mothers, Stephanie and Jasmines, thank you for being a good example to your children. May our water of kindness remain free-flowing from one person to another.
The empty water bottle will remain on my table as a reminder to be kind, to be giving and to accept graciously, with no strings attached.