A few mornings ago while I was at King Soopers getting groceries with my two young children, I was reminded of a valuable life lesson. It was around 8 a.m., and I was just pulling my two boys out of their car seats when a car pulled up and out came a familiar face. Not familiar because I know him personally, but familiar because for the past three years that I’ve shopped at Target in our town I, and probably every other shopper and employee, have been treated by him as if an old friend. I can’t think of a kinder person I’ve ever met.
That morning he jumped out of his car and began pulling two carts out of his old Subaru. When he saw me close by, he smiled and said, “Hi there! Can you believe that I found this cart all the way by the GMC dealership? And this Safeway one was down by McDonald’s.” As he pushed the cart to the holder, I responded, “Well it’s sure good of you to bring them all the way back!” In all sincerity he said, “Just trying to do my part to make our world a better place.” Then referring to the Safeway cart, “Better get this one home.” With that he drove away.
No other witnesses to this simple act of kindness but my two sons and me. Next thing I knew I was pushing my way through the busy aisles of the grocery store. I couldn’t believe the contrast I felt from my exchange with the gentleman in the parking lot as I looked at the other shoppers. Most were completely consumed with themselves pushing their way down the aisle. Not a glance up from their own lives, let alone a friendly good morning.
What was most ironic to me was in many of the carts were reusable bags, organic foods and “green” products, all to “make our world a better place.” I couldn’t help but wonder who was making a bigger difference and doing their part. While “going green” and buying organic are wonderful things to do, is it not just as important to share a smile, help out our neighbors or treat others with kindness and respect?
As I teach my own children about our world and how we can take care of it, I hope I can help them to understand that being kind and considerate of others, even when there’s no recognition, is one of the most wonderful secrets to “doing our part to make our world a better place.”
A few years ago I wrote this story and submitted it to our local paper. Here’s a link: