Editorial: Why not practice random acts of kindness?

Walt Mares Photo/Gila Herald: A Morenci sunset

Column By Walt Wares

Walt Mares: Walt Mares has been in journalism since 1976 and has covered Greenlee County since 1983.

Thanksgiving is past and Christmas is approaching. It is less than a week away. Many American newspapers and other publications will run editorials about the dangers of overindulging, whether it be consuming too much booze or food or buying things one cannot really afford. 

Call them random acts of stupidity.

Let us instead examine and focus on the opposite – performing random acts of kindness. With only a very few exceptions, doing so does not have to cost a dime and can still exemplify the holiday spirit. People who perform such acts are not expecting angels to suddenly appear and trumpet those acts of kindness. Nor do they expect a pat on the back. It is enough for them to know in their hearts they may have somehow, even in the smallest way, lightened the burden of another of God’s children.  

Waitresses often put up with more than any of us would consider tolerating from others. Many people are dismissive or outright rude to waitresses or waiters. Again, some customers perceive waiting on tables as being a lowly profession and waitresses are not deserving of much, if any, consideration or politeness. Sure, there may be a waitress here or there who should not be working with the public, but again, that person’s family may need every penny family members can bring in.

A smile, politeness, and a simple thank you to a waitress can go a long way. Go one step further and tip a few dollars when you pay your bill. Do the same if it is a to-go order. 

This refers to restaurants and not fast food joints that as a rule do not allow employees to receive tips. Even so, you can at least smile, be polite and say a genuine thanks when you receive your food. 

Random acts of kindness can be as precious, or perhaps even more significant than giving someone a present, and an expensive one at that, wrapped in pretty paper and decorated with ribbons. 

Most important is to say a simple hello to an elderly person. It is that simple. In receiving that greeting it may be the highlight of that person’s day, to be acknowledged by another human being. Perhaps the recipient of that hello lives alone is a widow or widower and has little contact with other people. 

A simple hello to a person of any age applies to a random act of kindness even if the reaction of the person being greeted is a strange look and no acknowledgment of the greeting.  

This is not to say that a person must greet everyone one meets. By no means. Go by what you feel when you see a person. Compliment and congratulate a young couple with a baby in arms or in a stroller and mean it when you say it. 

Compliment an elderly lady on her hairstyle and mean it when you do so and mean it when you say it.  

Keep in mind the simple act of a smile and a hello can make a difference in someone else’s life. 

There are far more ways to perform acts of random kindness than those of which we write. The bottom line is that no matter what the situation, or the time of year, such acts reflect on a person’s true character.  Remember that performing acts of kindness are free. There are no obligations or any price to pay.

They involve anonymity and no expectation of a thank you or reciprocation. As we have said, these random acts of kindness are performed because of what is in a person’s mind, heart and spirit.

They just happen to strongly personify what the coming seasons are supposed to be all about.

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