By: Tenley Spataro
When it comes to kindness, even the simplest of actions can make someone feel special. People can be unaware of the impact they make on others by doing things they would normally do, such as holding the door or giving advice to someone. For my article, I asked people to share an act of kindness, be it an act they have done or that another person has done for them which they considered to be kind, as a way to make my piece more personalized. Sharing such stories were important to me to inspire others to be more conscious of their own actions and to think about everyday actions they can do to be kinder, as small actions, or words, can still be impactful.
[Cleo] One act of kindness is in high school after the Pulse Shooting at a gay club in Orlando, I rallied my friends to sell T-shirts and rainbow ribbons to collect donations, raising $1000 which we sent to a charity in Orlando that was set up to help the victims and their families. Due to its scope and its financial significance, although no amount of money can ever replace a human life, that is probably my largest act of kindness. I did not expect anything in return, but it was really nice to give back to my LGBT family in the wake of such tragedy. My most recent act of kindness is last January I was having a really bad day, my train was late, I had just received some devastating news about my research and I was really sulking. I decided to get a hot chocolate so I went to the 711 near my school and saw a homeless man standing in the cold holding the door for people trying to get money. I offered to buy him a drink, and he accepted, so I bought two large hot chocolates and gave one to him without expecting anything in return.
[Sydney] Recently, I was on the train on the day of the patriots victory parade in Boston. Our train was delayed for a very long time due to an accident and also the sheer amount of people trying to board. I was sitting near some elementary school kids who were getting anxious and bored. I talked with them, played some games, and gave them some cookies out of my lunchbox. They were so excited and the parents were so grateful, it made me happy to have made a family's day like that.
For me personally, I love when people include me in things without asking or feeling obligated to. Someone at work gave me a valentine (just a friendly one)- she didn't have to go out of her way to make me one at all, but I really felt happy and included. People don't realize how much a little thing can make someone's day.
[Amy] The most recent act of kindness that stood out to me was done by a faculty member at UMB. I had scheduled a mandatory half hour meeting with her to discuss academic and career plans which is part of her job. However, after listening to me talk about struggling with family life and that conflicting with my academics, she shifted the focus to my overall well being. She shared her own experiences growing up with a mother who always expected more from her even if she was already spreading herself thin. She showed me that she cared even though we had only met just that day. She cut into her personal time to make sure I would be able to clear my mind and finish my semester strong.
[Anonymous] Giving up my lunch to someone who needed it.
[Anonymous] Giving up my seat on the T to a pregnant woman.
[Jithin] I don't think that I've done anything that would constitute as being kind; nice maybe but not kin, as per my definition. But I do always try to help my friends out if they have any kind of problems even if it means that I might get into problems because of the time I spend helping them.
When I was going through a depressive time in my life, my friend took the time to help me get some happiness back even though she had problems of her own to deal with. And even when I tried to help her with her problems, she instead tried to make it a good time because it was the last time I would be seeing her for some years as I had to leave my country to come here for my master's degree.
[Sonia] Last semester was the most challenging of my time at UMass. I was taking five courses while also maintaining a job. When finals rolled around, my stepmom knew I was stressed about it and when I got home the night before a big exam, I found a bunch of sticky notes on the bathroom mirror that spelled out "Good Luck Sonia! <3" I could tell she had spent a long time on it because each letter was decorated with flowers or patterns. When I thanked her the next day, she told me that she had stayed up until 2 in the morning doing them for me. It reminded me of how lucky I am to have such sweet and loving people in my life.
[Anonymous] There was one time I went out of my way to help a woman carry her stroller down 3 flights of stairs.
[Anonymous] As I do not have a car while here at college, my older sister often gives me rides to places unreachable via the T if/when I need them. She also invites me over for meals once and a while so I can get a break from campus food. In turn, I help her out with household chores when I'm over her place to visit every so often.
[Anonymous] A simple act of kindness that many people do every day is holding the door open for the person behind them. It may seem simple and obvious, but sometimes acts of kindness can be that simple.
[Ellis] I've recently started volunteering at Boston Public Schools, which I think is kind. I've driven many people to airports and bus stations. My friends are always willing to talk with me when I'm feeling blue which I know can be a chore, so that's pretty kind.
[Anonymous] I remember one time in high school I was with some friends and we went through a drive-thru. The cashier told us that the car in front of us had paid for our order (we got drinks/coffee I believe). We found that so kind and thoughtful, so we agreed to pay for the car's order that was behind us. We were hoping that this chain would continue on and the cars behind us would continue to keep paying for the orders of the car behind them.
[Allison P] Acts of kindness can be big or small. For example, simply holding the door for someone (which I have done for others and vice versa) can be considered kind. A bigger example would be when earlier this week, I let my friend - who currently is going through a lot of personal issues with depression and anxiety - talk to me over the phone so she can vent, spending over three hours on the phone to help her calm down and remind her of the positives in life.