Skip to main content

The smallest amount of kindness



Recently I was helping another Group X fitness instructor add an entry into the work order system at the gym.  For the longest time when a piece of equipment was in need of repair, it was pushed to the side, only to be discovered later that it was broken. The reason for this was word of mouth simply wasn’t getting the equipment repaired. The solution was to write a work request and create a digital paper trail and the instructors were unaware they were the first cog in this process.

I hired in as an instructor at the beginning of the year and with my background in logistics and computers, I rapidly latched on to this maintenance system and decided to share this knowledge. Along the way, we saw a marked improvement in functioning equipment. As I pointed at the computer screen, I told the other instructor what went where and then “in this box, write exactly what is wrong and then add the words thank you.”

“Why do I need to do that?” they asked, referring to the last two words.

“Because you want them to know their work is appreciated?” I queried and I saw the light go on. Now mind you, this person is smart, a quick thinker, a devoted parent, and an overall good person with real values, but for some reason, they missed a simple common courtesy that would turn a demand into a request. The repair person will surely notice and look to see who wrote the request and it will add up in that person’s favor.

I am an aggressive alpha personality who sometimes feels like a coiled spring – well, pretty much all of the time. At red lights, I watch the light and am ready to explode out of the gate and have to slow myself down to the normal response time of people around me. At times it is agonizing and only my advanced age helps me cope with how slowly people react. If I were in ten cars at a left turn lane and the light turned green, on any given day I could most likely get all of them through it before it turned a good yellow. By good, I mean it hasn’t turned red mid-intersection.

But as a victim of other people’s sluggish reaction, I risk running the red light after 3 cars. This is life in a world with so many distractions, it’s a danged wonder we can safely drive at all.  There is nothing I can do to change this behavior, so this is how I give back. I allow traffic to keep moving.

I routinely drive on Massey Tompkins Road and often turn left onto Barkuloo Road. By turning deep into the turn lane, it will trigger the magnetic strip under the road and stop westbound traffic. I doubt if oncoming traffic realizes what I am doing, but if no one is behind me, I’ll deliberately hang back and let all those cars pass before I trigger the light. It’s my way of giving back. Knowing I do it is reward enough for me. I feel good about myself afterward.

I like to shop at Food Town on North Main Street. I routinely push a shopping cart into the store instead of walking past the many that litter the parking lot. I usually pick up a little trash on my way in too and drop it in the cans at the door. Sometimes I push in 2 or more carts. When I push my cart out to my Jeep, I leave it there. I could push it across the lot I guess and put it in one of the spots dedicated for temporary storage, but because I pushed one in, I don’t feel bad about leaving it where I parked. And then there is the trash I picked up as an extra bonus to the store. This also makes me feel good.

What does the Bible say about the little foxes?  Aren’t they the ones who spoil the vines? Yup and inversely, it’s the little acts of kindness that reap the largest overall rewards. Implementing them is the hardest or easiest part. It takes a plan for those of us who are flying through life at a breakneck speed. For others who are so naturally inclined to be a nice person, it is the way they ease through life that makes everything they do a blessing to those around them. I wish I was one of those people, but I’m not. I have to be very deliberate to be mister nice guy. I have to have a plan and make it part of my life to be considerate. One way or the other, we all need to think about our fellow citizens and attempt to stem the tide of anxiety, fear, and hatred.

I think it all starts with being thankful and considerate. If we can keep those two attitudes in front of us, we simply cannot go wrong.

 .

Comments

Anonymous said…
I like this and I see myself feeling this same way

Bruce "Bruno" Marshall
Anonymous said…
D.J. Brewer: I have been told I am INTENSE. Personally, I never felt intense, since what I feel normally is nothing compared to when I get intense, which apparently traumatizes people for life. I am so glad I READ your blog here. It's a perfect description of me, except I am a woman. Hence people are constantly freaked out by me.
So I am happy to note there is an accurate description if me, other than "fire breathing Dragon" or the ever favorite for women like me, "Bitch."
Your words are apropos:
"I am an aggressive alpha personality who sometimes feels like a coiled spring – well, pretty much all of the time"
Anonymous said…
ARW: You're so right about the power of please and thank you, Bert. Thanksgiving Eve, we ordered Dominos delivery. It came, was delish, I gave them all 5's on the rating and then commented "Happy Thanksgiving, Ya'll!!!". Phone rang, it was Dominos wanting to thank me. She said it was the only happy thnxgiving they'd gotten and it made their day. I told her that made mine! A little goes a long way in this cruel world, for sure. ;-)

Popular posts from this blog

Camp fires, wood smoke, and burning leaves.

When I was a kid, everyone burned leaves in the fall. I always enjoyed it so much.It was a happy time. Man, that smell was amazing and you couldn’t go anywhere without smelling it. Of course now I know that it is a major source of air pollution and those of us that live inside the city limits are restricted from doing it. I don’t think I would burn them anyway, choosing to compost instead.
The whole family would engage in raking the yard and the reward was burning the leaves. The thick gray smoke would pour out like liquid clouds and we would run through it. Afterward, we smelled like smoke, but we didn’t care. I would wager that most people under the age of 30 have never even raked leaves into a pile, let alone burn them.
Growing up in north Georgia in the late 60’s, my 3 brothers and I would camp out most of the summer and burn anything and everything on our campfire. At the end of summer there wouldn’t be a stick, pine cone, or needle on the ground. We smelled like mountain men a…

Riding the waves

Back in 1974, after coming back to the USA from the unpleasant conflict in Southeast Asia, I was stationed at Vandenberg Air Force Base in Lompoc, California. Vandenberg has 20 miles of coastline that is basically closed to the public and people in residence, regardless if you are in the military or not. This rule didn’t seem to affect my fellow airmen and I from going body surfing on a lonely stretch of beach, far from controlling authorities. There was a submerged shelf that ran out a couple three hundred yards from the beach that was flat and about 6 feet deep.You could swim way out there and as the ocean waves came in, they would hit that shelf and make 5 feet high waves that white-capped all the way in. Now mind you, this was pre-Jaws and none of us had ever heard of a Great White shark. Year later I read where this stretch of beach was prime habitat and a couple years ago, an airman was killed right there.
We had been in the 65 degree water for about an hour and I was turning …

Reading, Writing, and Arithmetic

I wish I could remember who it was that said you can get a basic education in three years, but let us take a look at Ben Franklin as an example of that. We have a family joke that the answer to almost any Jeopardy clue is almost always “Who was Ben Franklin?”
When I am asked who I would most likely enjoy an afternoon with, it is always Ol’ Ben, the only President of the United States, who was never the President of the United States. Did you know he was the master of self-promotion and a man I admire? Even as a young lad, if he spotted a person of higher station, he would grab a shovel or some tool and begin to work diligently. The person would see him and remark, “What a fine worker that young man is!”
I’ve read a couple of books on the man and it still amazes me that he did so much with so little organized education. “From 1714-1716, Franklin attended Boston Grammar School and George Brownell's English School (for one year each) but he was withdrawn due to the expense of formal…