My parents and I had been standing in the hot, narrow, cramped line for more than two hours amid hundreds of other people at a pilgrimage site in India last year. Suddenly, I was hit with a wave of lightheadedness and disorientation. The next thing I knew, I was on the floor. My legs felt like jelly as my parents helped me stand back up. From front and back, strangers in the line came to the rescue by providing space and offering water and snacks to relieve my fainting spell, which had resulted from dehydration and claustrophobia. My faith in humanity was restored.
Like us, everyone else had been standing in the line for long periods; some, in fact, had trekked up a hill to get there while I took a bus. They had every good reason to save the little water and food they had on hand (bags were not allowed), and yet, they gave it away to me without thinking twice.
If you think about it, there are plenty of such random acts of kindness from strangers in our lives. I am reminded of the time I left my phone at Moffitt Library and walked out before returning to my place 10 minutes later only to find it missing. With my heart in my mouth, I approached the front desk and was relieved to know that someone had deposited it there.
I am grateful to the generosity of strangers who have helped me in so many ways without hesitation. As you think of what you are thankful for each day, don’t forget to say a silent thank-you for those random acts of kindness, however big or small.
And more importantly, try to practice kindness every day. It can be as simple as helping a random student in your computer science class who needs help with their code, holding the door open for someone at the store or helping someone up when they trip on the stairs.
As Princess Diana once said, “Carry out a random act of kindness, with no expectation of reward, safe in the knowledge that one day someone might do the same for you.”
Especially now, with the world in a fragile place, let’s be the best Golden Bears we can be. Let this be your reminder to practice kindness in your everyday life, because there are moments for kindness all around us!
Contact Nandita Radhakrishnan at [email protected].