October 26, 2006

Random Acts of Rudeness

Everyone has heard about Random Acts of Kindness – you know, paying for the car behind you at the tollbooth, letting people with fewer items than you cut in front at the grocery store, leaving the quarter in the shopping cart at Aldi’s for the next shopper. You know - those little things that people do that surprise you and make you smile.

I have been a big proponent of Random Acts for a good many years. There seemed to be a big push for it back in the early 90’s. I started off with the tollbooth – being egged on by a group of rowdy high school students traveling with me to a youth convention. They polled their change and proudly presented it to me before we left. They carefully watched as we drove away from each tollbooth and the toll collector explained to the driver of the next car that his/her way had just been paid. They were ecstatic when a car would catch up to us - beeping, waving, smiling, and mouthing the words “thank you.” That was a big return on a forty cent investment!

Then a Hollywood film came out – “Pay It Forward” and I swear people fell back into the easier Random Acts of Rudeness. Gosh, what did we expect? The pay-it-forward acts were huge – starting with the gift of a car. Ok, a little out of my league and no one would really appreciate the ’92 Buick Roadmaster barge of a car we drive. And then the kid dies – once again proving that no good deed goes unpunished. That right there is enough to scare you into keeping your spare change in the car’s ashtray forever.

Well, whatever the reason for the rudeness relapse. . . it’s time we all started back on the kindess trail. I had been trying to do two act of kindness for every act of rudeness that crossed my path. Now I’m down to one for one. That two for one almost became a part-time job.

So the challenge for you today is ONE SMALL ACT OF KINDNESS. Be creative. Be intentional. Don’t be afraid of sharing the reason behind the act.

Be prepared to be surprised! Those little investments of time and pocket change can bring big returns!

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