Bread Crumbs of Kindness- (noun.)
1. The act of leaving a trail of good deeds in the hopes that someone will receive the good deed and thus reciprocate that good deed by following in your footsteps.
2. The ability to make someone’s day in the hopes that they will make the day of someone else.
3. A “Pay it forward” type of mentality.
4. “In about the same degree as you are helpful, you will be happy.” ~Karl Reiland
You know those days when everything seems to be going wrong and a little dark rain cloud of yuck seems to be following you wherever you walk? I was having one of those YEARS….The kind where everything seems to be going badly. I reached a point where I had to say “Okay, If this rain cloud is not going to end then I need to buy a new umbrella.”
When taking a look at the world, I realized that I was not the only person feeling this way. With unemployment rates soaring and affecting even my own newly-formed family, I felt out of control in a world spinning faster than I could keep up. That is when I stumbled upon an article in the December issue of Glamour magazine entitled "31 Days of Giving." My first thoughts were “How on earth am I going to help others when I can barely keep my own family afloat?” After putting that article down and returning to my grey cloud of self absorbance, something happened. I couldn’t stop thinking about the article. What if I could make a difference? That’s when it hit me. I needed to heal in many ways and the only way to do that was to learn, grow, stop and listen. I needed to stop focusing on myself and start focusing on others and I knew it was time to do something about the way I was feeling and handling my situation.
Thus, the idea of "Bread Crumbs of Kindness" was born. With the new year 2010 on the brink, I decided to make this blog my New Year’s resolution. For 6 months, I will participate in several acts of kindness (precisely one a week). Some acts will be random while others will be planned. I will also research and interview people who make these acts part of their daily practices in the hopes that I can understand the true importance of helping others.
Why did I decide to take you with me on this spiritual journey? The reason is simple. I need you for this blog. I need you to follow my bread crumbs so that you can leave bread crumbs for others to follow. Come with me as we add a little sunshine back into each day. Here we go…………..
RANDOM ACT OF KINDNESS NO. 1
From the moment I decided to do this blog, I knew my first random act of kindness would be something I had always wanted to do. The plan was clear: I would go through the drive-thru at a local fast food restaurant and pay for the person behind me. It sounded like a simple idea at the time but I definitely underestimated some very important factors:
1. Unlike Brack and I (stuck in our college ways), people do not eat dinner at 9pm and our first attempt at finding a crowded fast food restaurant came up empty.
2. The most important element we forgot in the giving process is that spontaneity is key. We found when we focused too much attention on finding the perfect fast food restaurant, we overlooked opportunities to help others in our everyday life. For example, we completely neglected to buy Girl Scout cookies for the nice man in line behind us outside of the grocery store.
Finally, the day came when we pulled up in the Wendy’s drive-thru lane with a car directly behind us. We both knew it was the right moment. I was excited and nervous all at the same time. Many thoughts passed through my mind and I even got a little scared about asking the lady at the window if I could pay for two cars. Would she tell me that the world had come to the point where security practices in such matters would deny me the opportunity to even do such a deed? The moment came when I pulled up to the window with my nervous knots in tow. I was glad to see a smiling face on a friendly woman. I just blurted out, “Can I please pay for the person behind me because I’ve always wanted to do it.” I waited for a response. In one smile, she reaffirmed my belief in good deeds. She was definitely more excited than I. She lovingly rang in both orders, handed me two receipts and said these precious words:
“They are going to be so shocked. You have a very blessed day.”
I thanked her, took a mental memory and flew out of the parking lot as to avoid the car behind us. I was laughing and smiling so hard at the rush of excitement we had just experienced. Brack was laughing so hard because I was driving so fast to leave the parking lot. He said “Tracy, you are driving like you stole their food, not like you bought it.”
The experience was so incredible that words cannot describe how elated I still am, even now, as I write these words. My hopes are that the car behind us will think of this day the next time they get the opportunity to do something for others. My even bigger hopes are that you will (the next time you have EXTRA cash) decide to repeat this act of kindness.
I am beyond pumped about the next act of kindness. I hope I can wait a week…………..