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Friday, April 30, 2010

Act of Kindness No. 7: LDOC-Finding the Kindness Moment in Each Experience

The Last Day of Classes on Duke’s campus brought a celebration unlike anything I have ever seen. It was an all out party day for the students that included food, drinks and concerts featuring performers such as Jay Sean, Flogging Molly, Rooney and Big D & the Kids Table. The amount of crazy college fun that accumulated on this one day was enough to leave us all exhausted.

As my friend Lindsay and I set out on the walk to our cars, I had only one thing on my mind: Relaxation. I will be the first to admit that on this particular day, I had forgotten to keep kindness in the forefront of my mind. Thankfully, I am blessed with amazing friends who have already incorporated kindness into their normal everyday routines. That brings us to Act of Kindness No. 7, an act that would not have happened if it was not for Lindsay.

As we were walking down the quad on Duke’s campus, surrounded by thousands of excited college kids, we said “Hi” to our co-worker from the Office of Student Affairs (OSAF) as he was trucking by to the quad pushing a dolly that was stacked high with water bottles.

Carrying on with our conversation, Lindsay and I stopped after we heard a huge popping noise. We were sure it was a balloon or a crazy college prank. When we turned around, we saw our OSAF friend bent over with the dolly.

The dolly had popped a tire and hundreds of water bottles fell onto the sidewalk. He was making an awful face. I froze in this moment and I was able to observe every detail of what was happening around me.

As if someone pushed a kindness button, at least 10 students ran over to help the sweet guy with the pitiful face-Lindsay included. I watched as they said “Sorry Dude” and “We will help.”

I smiled at this act of kindness and jumped right in myself. We all carried one set of 12 water bottles into the quad and into the boisterous crowd. I am not even sure if our OSAF guy even had to carry anything besides the broken dolly.

I was floored at the immediate reaction by all of these people. I am still in awe of the fact that in a moment of unplanned chaos, everyone jumped to help and not one of those people thought twice. The college students amazed me the most as their minds should have been on the band or drinks or graduation but instead everyone of them stopped in that moment to do something for someone else. What they each probably thought of as common courtesy has moved me beyond words. I will strive for that kind of kindness reaction time in the future. So in a place where kindness seemed unapparent, I was thrilled to learn it was there all along.

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