Several years ago, someone did a small, random act of kindness that just seemed to keep giving. I have thought about it over the last few years how something so small and so random could sit with me and still make me look at the world differently and the people around me differently all these years later.
It was a fall day, kids were in school and I had run off to work in Salt Lake. A thunder storm had come up. As I was driving home that late afternoon, during rush hour traffic, trying to come up with something to make later for dinner, I was amazed how polite and nice all of the drivers were driving home in the rain, something that I would say rarely happens during rush hour traffic.
I rushed home, fed the family, took a child to scouts, another to a youth activity and a third to a friend’s house 20 minutes away. My husband was off to work late that night, so I decided to do our grocery shopping for the week.
Going through the store I was tired; it had been a crazy day and I was still rushing to get the shopping done before I had to pick up those three kids from so many different places, but I couldn’t complain because people had been polite. The checkout line moved swiftly, so I wasn’t in a bad mood when I left the store, but I was tired and I was ready for bed.
When I got out to my car and finished unloading my cart I noticed a sticky note on my windshield. My first thought was someone must have hit my car and left their information for me. I marveled that I hadn’t noticed any damage.
You know what was written on that note? Two simple, but kind words, “You’re Awesome.” I stopped for just one moment and let it sink in. “I’m Awesome?” I smiled. The day had been good, crazy, but good. I was awesome, I accomplished so much.
I went home, unloaded the groceries, stuck the sticky note on the fridge to show my husband later, and then like a mad woman ran from one stop to another picking up my kids until I could fall into bed exhausted that night.
The next morning one of those sweet kids was getting milk out of the refrigerator and saw that note and said, “Guess what Mom, I’m awesome!” I had forgotten that note, but It was the note that kept on giving.
I’ve thought about that over the years, and when I do, I smile a little more, I compliment a little more, I offer kind words a little more, I help a little more. One tiny note from someone who most likely just stuck it on a random car, changed how I saw and treated others, and continue to treat others to this day.
My two youngest, teenagers, both in high school now, get reminded of that note all of the time and this last week we sat down and filled up our own sticky notes with encouraging words.
It was so much fun going to high school parking lots, and grocery store parking lots, an eye doctors and Costco and randomly sharing our You’re Awesome and You’ve Got This notes. Little words from four years ago seem to keep changing our family in ways that I never knew something so simple could do.
If you have stories of service that you have done, or others have done for you, that are unique and you would like to share, I would love to hear them. Or if you have other clever ideas for our family to keep the act of kindness passing forward, please share them with me at firstname.lastname@example.org. And keep a little sticky notebook in your car. The next time you have a free moment, share an encouraging comment with the four closest cars around you. You never know whose life you might change. (Gibson is a Serve Daily contributor.)