British Punk and a Random Act of Kindness

For most of this month, I’m concentrating on all things spooky. But during “A Look Back, a Look Ahead,” I wanted to concentrate on another part of autumn: Togetherness. We come together for Trick or Treat and parties; we come together for apple-picking and pumpkin carving; we come together to sip warm apple cider while huddled around an even warmer fire. I wrote a while ago about about the impact kindness can have, and between everyone being tired of the pandemic and the current political environment (gotta love election years, right?), I thought it would be nice to set aside one day a week to focus on acts of kindness.

A Kindness Memory

Back when I was in high school, I was SUPER into classic rock. (I’ve been to the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame three times.) I was probably a sophomore when I discovered the British punk band The Clash–and what teenager doesn’t love a bit of rebellion? I still rock out every time I hear “London Calling.” This particular day, I was at the mall and decided to purchase The Clash’s Greatest Hits CD. (Yes… this is back when people still bought physical copies of music, rather than downloading everything.) I was old enough to know how sales tax worked, but for whatever reason, I just didn’t account for it. I can’t remember if I was in a hurry or if I just epically failed at math that day (the latter could very well be true). When I went to check out, I ended up being about a dollar short. There was a huge line behind me, and to not have enough money for this shy, introverted girl was devastating. I stumbled over my words and started to explain that I’d head outside and get the extra dollar from my dad. The clerk just shook her head, said, “It’s fine. Don’t worry,” and then proceeded to pay the balance herself. I was surprised and, yes, a little flustered. It wasn’t until years later that I finally let myself not feel embarrassed. The lady didn’t have to pay for the CD; she didn’t have to make sure that this clearly awkward teenage girl wasn’t thrust into the center of attention. But she did. And now, whenever I play that Clash CD I’m reminded of how we can all help others to feel better in situations that are out of our control. After all, 2020 has given us very, very little control over so much of our lives. But at least there is this: We can control how we treat each other. We can control those little moments of awkwardness and maybe make them a little easier for someone else.

Kindness Challenge of the Day

Give someone a hand in an awkward situation. It doesn’t even have to take a cent–sometimes, just a smile and saying, “I’ve been there, too” can go a long way.

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