(Student Essay Fall 2015)
“A single act of kindness throws out roots in all directions, and the roots spring up and make new trees.” –Amelia Earhart
“You don’t pay love back, you pay it forward”. A coined phrase from the early 20th century by Lily Hardy Hammond which always tends to make me smile due to the domino effect of kindness it can set off. Even before I was aware of this specific quote, person, and movie premise, I’ve always endured the concept especially coming from my hometown, because you never knew if you’d be the one reaching out for a hand in need one day, and knowing that you’d definitely appreciate it if the time came, makes it difficult to turn away someone else who may be in a particular, but similar situation. The fact that a person, or persons, you’ve helped along the way can do something for someone else and possibly set off a chain reaction of small but extremely helpful deeds from that very point, is payment enough for whatever type of assistance one may have provided at the moment and is what, I believe, fuels myself and everyone else in this giant, hand-extending love-fest.
One day, after recently arriving in Tallahassee and not quite familiar with the bus schedules yet, I missed the local bus by seconds and aside from being frustrated, thought I was obviously going to have to wait for the next one. Not a minute after, a car pulls up and a guy asks me if I just missed that bus, which I assumed was rhetorical since he literally saw me run after it, but with my frustration aside, I replied, “yes, by a split-second”. Politely, he asked if I needed a ride, and even though I just mentioned appreciating random acts of kindness while in my hometown or anywhere else, I also learned to be extremely cautious in the same exact place. Quickly, I analyze the situation and know that if I waited for the next bus, I was going to be late. So I decided to hop in and hoped that it was nothing more than a mere gesture and sure enough, it was. Upon being dropped off and acknowledging the man’s kindness, I asked him if there was anything that I could do, “gas money? Little something for lunch?” considering the fact that I don’t know how far off his own route he went to help me, and he immediately replied “it’s all good man, just pass it on”. I smiled and guaranteed him that I would after telling him how much I appreciated it. It was then and there that I got a “homey” feel to the new city I lived in. It displayed the hospitality that came with the joint and demonstrated the willingness to lend a hand.
Although that particular situation was quite bigger than just a small random act of kindness, it was one I kept thinking about, along with a few others back home, when I chose the opening quote. When this assignment was given, it was intended to have us do something out of the ordinary, when it came to providing local or community service, or “volunteering”. Intended to have us do just a little extra, and with that foundation laid out, its what I wanted to do. I’ve volunteered at organizations and state parks and done fund-raisers with the school, but this was a chance to do something different for others, other than the traditional ways of reaching out and feeling like you helped. But a few weeks down the line, it came to my attention that time to complete the project was running out and I didn’t necessarily engrave my option of service yet, so I became a bit concerned, because even though alternatives were being given regularly every week or so, I wanted something a bit more personal. The only thing is, the more I thought about it, the less time available to complete whatever I intended to next, so gratefully, I looked to some of the alternative options that were provided and noticed that every single one of them were exceedingly enough, not because of the amount of thought put in, or amount spent, but because every single action is going toward helping their current situation. So taking advantage of the little time I had to put something together, I go with one of the many splendid ideas provided to put a smile on one of dozens of peoples faces and Adopted a Veteran to help dazzle up his outfit and give him the fine styling of a lumberjack. Over the countless experiences I’ve had, I’ve grown to learn that the smallest deed is always more than enough and the smallest bit of consideration can always make someone’s day.