Note: The following post is an excerpt from my latest book, Risking it All: One Woman's Adventure Giving Away Her Income. The manuscript is ready for editing.
I no longer have an income. For now, that’s just the way it is. We will get along on my husband’s income, and I have every confidence that our needs will be met.
Kindness is absolutely free, though. It costs nothing other taking the effort to observe where and when it is needed, and making a small expenditure of physical energy to go and distribute that kindness to the one who needs it.
I experienced this firsthand today in our local Subway sandwich shop.
While waiting in line, I witnessed a sad interchange between the customer before me and the sandwich artist preparing lunch for him and his two other family members.
That clerk asked him if the three sandwiches were together, and he rudely responded, “Yes, but you would have known that if you had paid attention the first time.”
I keenly felt the fallout of those death-disbursing words. I quietly observed the girl thinking for a quick second before she carefully responded, “Thank you. It’s been very busy and I just wanted to make sure.”
A very classy comeback to a very mean-spirited remark, to be sure.
However, I could see the defeat on her face as she continued making my sandwich and those for the rest of the customers in the line. Not only had he been unnecessarily rude in his words and the tone thereof, he had also humiliated her in front of a shop full of customers.
Every day we have the power of life and death through our words, and today that customer spewed death. The verse reminding me of this truth came to my mind as I sat there eating my hoagie and watching the activity in the restaurant.
“The tongue has the power of life and death and those who love it will eat its fruit.” (Proverbs 18:21)
I formulated my plan. I waited till the man and his family finished their meals and left. Then I headed over to the corner of the store where that clerk was busily refilling the drinks refrigerator.
I gave her a few kind words. I said I noticed how poorly the customer in line responded to her, and I praised her for taking the higher road with her classy response to him. I said I’ve worked in public jobs and I know people are not always friendly or easy to serve.
I told her I understand that his one sentence to her held the power to ruin her day and make her feel like a miserable failure. I told her to pick up her chin and feel good about herself, despite how his words had fallen on her.
With tears in her eyes, she thanked me for noticing and for going out of my way to shower a bit of kindness onto her. She smiled.
I think I noticed her working and standing just a tad taller after that as she worked around the store.
Kindness is free.
May we look for ways to “spend” it lavishly on everyone around us.