First up – my sincere apologies for not writing for a while. I haven’t had the right access to a computer at the right time for a while, and hate writing posts on my phone. So this is just a quickie post to get me back in the game.
I tweeted about the movie Pay IT Forward last night. And got a response from Charlie Johnson, who heads up the international Pay It Forward movement. I wanted to tell him about the power of a single act that I experienced but realised I never actually devoted an entire blog post to it. So here goes.
It was several years ago. I was going through a bit of a dark period (another one) and had to do some shopping after work. I was wandering through the supermarket full of rage and hate. I didn’t want to be there, I was angry with and hated everyone who crossed my path. Everyone seemed to be getting in my way.
I eventually made it to the checkout and was prepared to deal with the usual (in my worldview) surly checkout operator. Instead I was met by this lovely person who radiated goodness. At the end she genuinely smiled and wished me a nice day. It changed my life. Literally.
Not only was I transformed from that dark thing, but I made a commitment at that very instant. As far as possible (there are still genuine arseholes in the world) I would do the same thing to others. You know, simply be nice to them. Be nice to strangers.
It felt so good. I extended this philosophy to my on-line world. After the Christchurch earthquakes, I regularly read the #eqnz hashtag on Twitter. I was actively looking for people who were suffering and seemed to need someone to care. I developed a policy of sending “Hugs offered from a complete stranger” tweets. Letting people know that I really did care about them, and I really did have love and compassion for them.
Almost all of these people have become some of my dearest friends, even though we have never met.
I know others I have done this to have gone on to do similar things to others.
What amazes me is this one person, this “lowly” checkout operator almost certainly has no idea what she has done. She has changed my life. She has changed almost all the lives I have since come into contact with.
With a tiny act of kindness, she changed the world. I feel immensely proud and privileged to have been part of that particular chain of events. And it drives me on.
A single word, a single act, can change the world. For better or for worse. Try to choose the better. But remember there is no shame in failing.