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#tipTuesday - Be Kind

Be Kind. It's so simple and yet we often need reminding of it. So for today's #tipTuesday...#BeKind! A bookstore worker wrote this Facebook post describing an encounter with a “little, old lady” who shocked everyone at the register. The post has since gone viral, and for good reason.

Posted originally by Christine Turel

I work in a decent sized, local, indie bookstore. It’s a great job 99% of the time and a lot of our customers are pretty neat people. Anywho, middle of the day this little old lady comes up. She’s lovably kooky. She effuses how much she loves the store and how she wishes she could spend more time in it but her husband is waiting in the car ‘OH! I BETTER BUY HIM SOME CHOCOLATE!’ She piles a bunch of art supplies on the counter and then stops and tells me how my bangs are beautiful and remind her of the ocean (‘Wooooosh’ she says, making a wave gesture with her hand.Ok. I think to myself. Awesomely happy, weird little old ladies are my favourite kind of customer. They’re thrilled about everything and they’re comfortably bananas. I can have a good time with this one. So we chat and it’s nice.

Then this kid, who’s been up my counter a few times to gather his school textbooks, comes up in line behind her (we’re connected to a major university in the city so we have a lot of harried students pass through). She turns around to him and, out of nowhere, demands that he put his textbooks on the counter. He’s confused but she explains that she’s going to buy his textbooks.He goes sheetrock white. He refuses and adamantly insists that she can’t do that. It’s like, $400 worth of textbooks. She, this tiny old woman, boldly takes them out of his hands, throws them on the counter and turns to me with an intense stare and tells me to put them on her bill. The kid at this point is practically in tears. He’s confused and shocked and grateful. Then she turns to him and says ‘you need chocolate.’ She starts grabbing handfuls of chocolates and putting them in her pile.

He keeps asking her ‘why are you doing this?’ She responds ‘Do you like Harry Potter?’ and throws a copy of the new Cursed Child on the pile too.

Finally she’s done and I ring her up for a crazy amount of money. She pays and asks me to please give the kid a few bags for his stuff. While I’m bagging up her merchandise the kid hugs her. We’re both telling her how amazing she is and what an awesome thing she’s done. She turns to both of us and says probably one of the most profound, unscripted things I’ve ever had someone say: ‘It’s important to be kind. You can’t know all the times that you’ve hurt people in tiny, significant ways. It’s easy to be cruel without meaning to be. There’s nothing you can do about that. But you can choose to be kind. Be kind.’

The kid thanks her again and leaves. I tell her again how awesome she is. She’s staring out the door after him and says to me: ‘My son is a homeless meth addict. I don’t know what I did. I see that boy and I see the man my son could have been if someone had chosen to be kind to him at just the right time.’

I’ve bagged up all her stuff and at this point am super awkward and feel like I should say something but I don’t know what. Then she turns to me and says: ‘I wish I could have bangs like that but my darn hair is just too curly.’ And leaves. And that is the story of the best customer I’ve ever had. Be kind to somebody today.You never know how your actions may affect others around you, so you might as well be kind to all.

I think the part of this story that resonates most with me is where the little, old lady says, "You can't know all the times that you've hurt people in tiny, significant ways. It's easy to be cruel without meaning to be. There's nothing you can do about that. But you can choose to be kind." So on this Tuesday, what choice are you making?

Here are some ways that are simple for all ages to choose kindness: Preschool: My friend, Nicole, has a sister who posts a Random Act of Christmas Kindness each year for preschoolers. But why wait until Christmas? Use the calendar now with your preschooler. Or bookmark it so you can find the calendar she will post for December 2019. Kindgerten through 3rd grade: Challenge your child to have a secret act of kindness each day for 30 days. Something no one will notice. Your child can fill in a blank calendar and at the end of the 30 days share with you all the special acts of kindness they did for others! 4th grade through middle school: Read the book Wonder! Read it as a family. Talk about it. There are so many lessons in this book. I realize there is a movie out there, but I encourage you to do a family read aloud with it.

High school: Volunteer! Find a place where you can serve and do it! Adults: Find places to Be Kind everywhere you look. It doesn't have to be big. In fact, one of my favorites is the simple way of paying it forward in a drive thru. Someone posted on her social media that the person in front of her paid for her food and how wonderful that made her feel. What a simple act! I love the 2014 story of how Starbucks kept it going for 11 hours. The car in front of them paid for their coffee, so they paid for the person behind them. Then that person paid for the person behind them, and so on, and so on. I believe 378 people had paid for a stranger's order. Simply amazing! Be Kind!

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