Columns January 2017 The Secret Life of Summer Seasons

The Secret Life of Summer Seasons: Random Acts of Kindness

By Summer Seasons

The snowstorm before last, I ran into my elderly neighbor outside of my condo complex standing next to the mailbox. I asked him how he was doing and he had told me not so well. When I asked him why he said that he had not eaten anything but rice in the last few days because his meals on wheels delivery was unable to get to him. So I stuck the gentleman in my car, drove him to Subway, purchased him two footlong sandwiches and drove him home with my number in his hand so that should the situation happen again he could call me.

I posted that story on Facebook, not to look for a thank you or an accolade even, I just wanted people to check on their neighbors too, because if it had happened in my neighborhood, it most certainly was possible in others. What followed was an onslaught of people following my suggestion that became such a powerful and positive call to action.  It had never even occurred to me that a simple act of kindness could have such a huge ripple effect on the community.

As I reflect back on the 37 times I’ve been around the sun, it got me to thinking of the other times people had shown me kindness, or I was able to demonstrate kindness to others, and I realised that acts of kindness have always had a ripple effect in my life.

A few short years after moving into my condo, Tigard was having one of the worst rain storms that I could remember in recent history, and at midnight I heard a loud banging on my door. It was my downstairs neighbor who was looking at me, soaked to the bone from the rain, with tears in his eyes, he said I’m sorry to wake you man but could you help me sandbag my house before it floods. I immediately threw on some clothes and went to work on helping him save his house. We worked well into the early morning, and quickly I became as drenched as he was. We managed to save his house from flooding and three more neighbors that night, and to this day the water has never been that high. And as we finished I remember looking at everyone and they just kept hugging each other in a loud and celebratory way exclaiming WE DID IT, and we had.

It wasn’t long after that that I was on a short weekend vacation away, and my cat had someone found a way to jump of the second story balcony. My neighbor knowing I had been away coaxed him into the house and fed him and gave him treats in my absence. He came up to me proudly smiling with my precious DOLCE in hands and said, I’ll never forget what you did for me that night, and I never thought I’d be able to return the favor, but here’s your baby boy back, I took care of him while you were gone.

I don’t know what I would’ve done if he’d hadn’t helped me that day and I never got to repay him in a way that I had intended to, but I’m forever grateful that because of him I was able to have eight more wonderful years with my baby boy.

You see you never know what way doing something to help someone else will come back to you, but you should never do it for that reason. You should do it because it’s the right thing to do, and sometimes the universe will reward you in a very special way because of it. Find some way to make someone’s day, because I was able to, I received the best gift of all. As for my new neighbor and me, we now play Scrabble when both of us are home on Sundays. What a beautiful friendship that has become. A random act of kindness will make someone else’s life enriched, but more importantly, it’ll enrich yours.

 

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