Acts of kindness happen around us all the time. Some are thanked, many go unnoticed, and some are done without the persons knowledge. The last sentiment is what I witnessed yesterday in Downtown Los Angeles. Before I dive into my call of action here, I want to take you back to the beginning of my day as it was an interesting ride of emotions and it started with death.
Every morning I rise at 4:48 a.m. (I know, random time). I stretch and breathe in the morning air, sit up and shake the cobb webs off, and head to the kitchen. I down a tall glass of water and then run in place for about 30 seconds and do about 25 pushups. This just gets my heart going and the blood flowing. I then sit down and write in my gratitude journal, followed by meditating for twenty minutes, and then have some coffee and learn something new through podcast or video. After that, I get the kids going in the morning and start my Shaolin workout. When that is completed, I am ready to get moving. Yesterday, I transitioned to the “get moving” part pretty slow. The reason being, I had to go to a memorial service for my best friend from elementary school.
His death was announced two weeks ago and I couldn’t believe someone so young could perish from a heart attack. Regardless of my disbelief and doubt, it was a truth I had to accept. I showered up and put on a nice outfit, kissed the children goodbye, and headed to the church down the street. My friend, Timothy, was the kid I played with at every recess, ate lunch with, and constantly battled to be in a group with during class time. When I got out of my car and headed to the church steps, a bitter sweet elementary school reunion was occurring. People I hadn’t seen in years were hugging and embracing each other, all with the phrase, “Good to see you. Too bad it is under such horrible circumstances. We have to get together more.” I stood in the back, looking at a gigantic image of Timothy projected behind the pulpit. I could only stay for about twenty minutes as I had a workshop presentation I was giving at the Fathers and Families of America Coalition conference in Los Angeles. I was selected for this workshop almost 6 months ago and it just happened to fall on the same day as the memorial service.
Now, I am not a religious man. I did not grow up in the church but I do believe in the ability to share your love and thoughts with the Universe, including the energy of loved ones that have passed on. So, I talked to Tim. I thanked him for being kind and caring. I thanked him for helping me be confident because his presence made me feel strength. We used to call him Big Tim because he was a very big boy. Me, I was tiny. I mean, you would have thought I hadn’t grown since 1st grade. Tim protected me and never let anyone pick on me. He was a kind and gentle soul. Thanking him, talking to him, allowed me to let go and realize his daily kind acts that I was never privy to in the moment.
I made peace with his passing and headed to the workshop near LAX International Airport. My workshop was titled, Batman Vs. Superman: The Super Hero Dad. It went great (I will have the workshop posted on the website once the production crew gets done with the edits). A smaller turnout than expected but I gave everything I had for those few participants. I was rewarded with one woman sharing that it changed her spiritually and another stating it was the best workshop she had been to all conference. I was extremely grateful for such kind words. I hustled to my car to beat the L.A. traffic but no luck. Bumper to bumper. I turned on the GPS for an alternate route and over the speakers came, “Take the next exit.” I got off the freeway and was guided through the streets of the downtown tent city.
As I came to a stop at a red light, behind a small four door vehicle, a young man hopped out of the passenger side, right in the middle of the street. He ran over to a parked car on the right that had an expired meter. I thought maybe he was being dropped off to add some time to his car. When he fed the meter a quarter and its light went from flashing red to green, he walked back to the car, looked at the driver, and shrugged his shoulders. I knew then the driver was unaware of what he was doing and that this was not his car. He was giving the, “you know, whatever,” shoulder shrug. He had just performed a random act of kindness that potentially saved someone a hefty fine. All it cost him was a quarter and a few seconds. They must have been using the same GPS alternate route as me because I ended up following behind them all the way back to the freeway onramp. It was now confirmed, that wasn’t his car.
How beautiful is that? What a gesture of kindness he displayed, for no reason other than being a good human being. I was brought back to my friend Tim and his kindness. Being kind takes very little time and effort while always being rewarded. I thought about my level of kindness and how often I display it, whether known or not. Then, an idea was born to help me be more deliberate in my kindness and I want to extend this opportunity and challenge to you.
For the next eleven days, deliberately seek out an opportunity to be kind. It can be something as simple as a smile to a little child on the street, buying the coffee for the person behind you in line, or reaching out to an old friend just to check-in and say hi. Post the story of what you did and tag @rebirthbx #11KindDays. Share your kind acts to help inspire others to do the same. I can’t wait to see this paid forward and shared to as many living organisms on this planet as possible. What will you do in the next ten days to be kind?