A little thought and a little kindness are often worth more than a great deal of money. – John Ruskin
As you may know, in my younger days, I owned a convenience store chain. Now, fast forward to about four or five years ago when I received a letter from a name I didn’t recognize that came from Kansas City. It started out with, “Dear Mr. Kitchens, You won’t remember me…”
He went on to explain that, many years ago, he realized his life wasn’t going anywhere and he desperately needed to get back home, but didn’t have any money to pay for gas. He said he stopped at my gas station and I gave him a full tank of gas to make the trip home – and that was the turning point for completely changing his life around. He now has three children and is the pastor of a pretty large church. His letter stated that all these years later, he just wanted to say thank you for the impact that I had on his life. His letter is one of the most precious things I own.
After reading his letter, I barely remembered the guy and I definitely didn’t remember giving him the gas. But, to know that a simple act of kindness, of what probably equaled less than twenty dollars, made that much of an impact on his life is one of the most precious things.
Truly, that letter may be one of the best gifts I’ve ever received. It serves as a reminder that we’re all supposed to do more of those things. Instead of living comfortable, insulated lives, we all should be looking for opportunities to make a life changing impact on someone by a simple act of kindness.
It is also a good reminder to thank those people who have done things like that for us. How many times have others given us a leg up and we offer a quick thank you in the moment, but never go back and take the time to tell them about the real impact they had on our lives?
In all reality, I think most people have a hard time being thanked. It throws us off because it is a little scary to realize the weight of our actions. If we consider the impact that the good stuff has on others, then we have to consider the impact that our bad behavior or unintentional actions have on those around us as well.
Today, I just wanted to pass along this story because it meant so much to me and I hope it encourages you to reflect on how you can impact others, who you can thank for little kindnesses in your life and heighten your awareness of the impact your actions – big and small – have on those around you.
Question: What act of kindness could you complete this week? Who can you write a note to in thanks for something they did for you?