Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.
- Leo Buscaglia

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

What Criteria Should I Use?

     I used one of my Starbucks gift cards today and it led to some interesting thoughts about kindness, and in particular, what criteria to use when selecting a recipient.  Let me explain what happened.
     I flew to Miami this afternoon and, after landing, headed to the car rental center to pick up my car.  I was thinking of giving one of the workers there a gift card, but wasn't sure who.  The woman who gave me the keys and paperwork was very friendly, but I decided to wait and give it to the guy who checks everything before you exit the lot.  When I pulled up, he wasn't overly friendly - not bad, just not very enthusiastic.  I asked him for some directions which he gave me, and then I asked if he liked Starbucks coffee.  When he said that he did, I gave him the card and told him to do something nice for someone else.
     As I was with him, I was really hoping that he would be particularly friendly and helpful so that I could feel like the gift card was in some way a thank you or a reward for his good service, rather than giving a card to someone who was average at best.  On the other hand, I was also thinking that I can (and should) be kind, regardless of their actions.  At some level, my kindness toward them shouldn't be overly influenced by what they are up to.  In fact, perhaps showing kindness to someone not doing anything special might be the spark that causes them to awaken to the possibilities within themselves.  Or maybe not?!
     This is an issue I've thought about a lot of times this year, and will continue to ponder as well.

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