Random act of kindness is a term used to describe a selfless act done by one person to help another. Although these deeds help the person in need, little is said about how they may help the person performing the act of kindness in the long run.
I am reminded of a movie that was released in 2000 called Pay it Forward. Staring Haley Joel Osment, Kevin Spacey and Helen Hunt, a young student is given an assignment by his teacher to do three acts of kindness to strangers, asking each of them to “pay it forward” and do good deeds to three other strangers, and so on and so forth.
The young boy decides to help a homeless man, and the film follows the lives of several people and how their good deeds affect not only the lives of those they help, but many others. The intricate plot illustrates the notion that whatever good we do to others, it comes back to us in ways we may not even realize.
Canadians for example, enjoy perhaps the best universal health care systems in the world, where everyone has access to high-quality care, regardless of their income or where they live. The founder of the first universal medical system in the country (and in fact, all of North America) was Saskatchewan Premier Tommy Douglas, who was voted the Greatest Canadian on a 2004 CBC program of the same name.
Little known to many is that when Mr. Douglas was only ten years old in 1914, he developed osteomyelitis, a very dangerous infection in his leg. Health officials believed it would have to be amputated. But at the last moment, a very generous doctor agreed to help for free. Young Tommy received the proper care and medicines, and his leg was spared and the disease was beaten. This confirmed Mr. Douglas’ belief that health care should be free to everyone, and he worked his entire life to ensure that it became a reality in Canada one day.
All this came from a random act of kindness of one doctor – whose descendants in Canada will never have to worry about having a doctor of their own or medicines to cure a dangerous illness – as well as a young boy who would later “pay it forward” as Premier of Saskatchewan.
Globally speaking, there is even an organization based in London, England called the Kindness Offensive that practices large-scale acts of kindness, such as providing 25 tonnes of perishable foods to soup kitchens, giving away 35 tonnes of gifts to needy people, and more recently, preparing pancakes for thousands of people in central London. Just think of all the people they have helped, and what each of them is willing to do to help others as well.
It really does prove that it takes a few drops to make a ripple, but only a few ripples to make a wave. We really can make a difference all by ourselves, so let’s start making waves and paying it forward!
“Together We Can Make A Difference”