For my last day of Kindness Week, I planned to share something I love: lunch at Panera. As many of you might know by now, I am kind of addicted to the restaurant, visiting at least twice a week for my favorite tomato soup (or the lemon orzo if it’s summertime). It’s so ridiculous that I am on a first name basis with most of the people who work here, and by “first-name basis” I mean the employees know me well enough to chat with me for a few minutes and to ask me detailed/personal questions about my life.
I am a sad, sad little person.
So, thought it’s not too imaginative, I knew that my final day of my experiment would be devoted to spreading the Panera-joy. After purchasing my own lunch, I handed the cashier some cash and asked her to put it towards the next customer’s bill. There was no one behind me at the time, so I didn’t feel the pressure to gather my things and scurry away (see: Day Two). In fact, it took quite some time for the next diner to arrive, and from my seat, I watched the interaction between her and the counter-person. I could not hear them, but I could see the employee holding the cash in her hand, so I imagined that she might be explaining that lunch would be free today.
I felt somewhat giddy, and I didn’t allow myself to feel bad about that. It’s just fun to pay for someone else’s meal, and there’s no shame in admitting it.
In all, I am happy to have taken on the Kindness Week challenge. It forced me to be more mindful of the way I treat my fellow human beings, it inspired me to want to incorporate more kindness into my every day life, and it got me writing more, which is always a pretty great thing.
I kicked off the idea last week with a quote by The Smiths: “It takes strength to be gentle and kind.” Though I’ve always connected with this saying, I feel like I can appreciate it even more after the past week. Being kind isn’t always the most automatic thing, especially in a world where kindness is often seen as weakness. Particularly in the past year, I have had several instances where people have been hostile towards me or who have gone out of their way to say hurtful things or to try and shove me down (figuratively, of course). These were and are tough moments for me. That sort of rudeness/aggression/road blocks can easily perpetuate anger and pain and closed-offedness. To keep thriving, it IS to stay unaffected and to keep passing on the good rather than wallowing in the muck.
I am so grateful to Nicole for participating in the experiment with me this week. I couldn’t think of a nicer person to join me, and like her, I would love to keep up the kindness and incorporate it as a regular feature of this blog. I am thinking of making the last Wednesday of every month a “Kindness Day,” and I’m hoping others will join me on those occasions or on others.
I can’t wait to hear your stories of kindness, those you have instigated or those you have received, so please continue to keep me updated along the way.
Happy Friday, everyone!
“People are fragile things, you should know by now. Be careful what you put them through.” -Editors, “Munich”