Maya Angelou said, "I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel." Sometimes a witness to an exchange feels something too.
I have been truly blessed because I get great pleasure in doing things that cause people to smile. I get a real "kick" out of doing random acts of kindness.
One beautiful, sunny spring morning in the early 1980s, I bounced out of bed feeling great. My little boy and I were headed to Eastern Kentucky to visit my parents. I decided to bake blueberry muffins and greet the four toll booth workers on the Mountain Parkway with a big smile and fresh muffins. The reactions from the workers were, as expected, a real treat. They were pleasantly surprised and rewarded me with gentle chuckles and wide grins. I didn't notice that my young son was paying attention.
Now let's fast-forward to spring 2005. My husband and I were in a small town south of Osaka, Japan, attending my son's wedding. While teaching English as a second language there for six years, he had fallen in love with a beautiful Japanese woman.
Upon arrival, I was told that I needed to be prepared to say a few words about what it was like being Shawn's mother. At the reception, all the lights were dimmed, and the light was focused on my face. Although I was quite nervous, I had worked hard on my speech and was able to deliver it.
Before my speech, I was surprised when my son, 32, took the mike and gave an emotional speech on what it was like having me for a mom. His speech was poignant, articulate and heartfelt. When he spoke to the crowd about his mom's generosity, he gave an example.
The example given on the other side of the world to his friends from America, Australia, Germany, England, Canada and Japan was about an early morning drive on the Mountain Parkway when he was a boy.
I have always heard that you usually get more in return when you give than what you actually gave. I have found this to be true many times throughout my life.
Do a random act of kindness today for a stranger, a neighbor or a loved one.