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Random Acts of Kindness
by Mark Plumridge & Morgen Brown
The scene is a crowded local supermarket. The queue at the checkout is about 4 people long as the cashier waits patiently while an elderly lady counts slowly through her money to pay for the week's supplies. After a second count through the money the lady realises she has a little less than she needs to pay for her groceries. The cashier who knows the lady says "It's okay just pay next week."

"Oh no. Thank you, but I could never do that, I will just have to put something back."

The lady starts to shuffle around the groceries, which seem to be only the bare minimum, in an effort to decide what to return. She succumbs to the embarrassment of the situation and tears start to well in her eyes. She reaches in to her pocket and brings out a handkerchief to dry her eyes.

Meanwhile the lady in the line behind her quickly pulls a $5 note from her purse, screws it in to a ball and drops it at the elderly lady's feet. Then says "Oh, look what fell from your pocket when you brought out your handkerchief, it's $5 dollars. Now you have enough for your groceries, you must have forgotten it was in your pocket. You know I do that sort of thing all the time."

The elderly lady picks up the money feeling just a little puzzled but very relieved. She leaves the supermarket with all her groceries and a smile on her face.

As we follow our life path we are confronted everyday with situations such as this where somebody is in need or would benefit from an 'act of kindness'. We don't plan when or where these situations will occur - they are random events. What is interesting about the above scenario and many more that we could describe is that there is no expectation on behalf of the 'giver' to receive any material reward or benefit from the action performed. Of course there is a benefit gained but it is on a different level and not just confined to the 'giver'.

The benefit is the enrichment of the lives of all involved in the scenario and ultimately all of us. The 'giver' empathised with the elderly lady and 'connected' with her with this 'random act of kindness'. The elderly lady was spared embarrassment and sadness and all who were present and experienced the actions of the 'giver' and were therefore also 'connected'.

Such actions have a residual effect on all present, often carried with them from that moment. They feel better about the world, even in some small way, and this effects how they relate to others.

Obviously if this were a one-off that none present ever experienced again, its effect would eventually, in time be diminished, however, as the opportunity for such random acts of kindness confront us every day - imagine if we all acted on them.

� Mark Plumridge & Morgen Brown
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