Prompt Page 003: Generosity Ninjas

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Prompt by The Learning Network to combat WordPress.


 

Today’s Topic:
When was the last time I did
something nice for a stranger?

 

I almost didn’t do this prompt since it seemed so closely related to the other prompts I have written for these past few days. After reading the page though and looking at the questions at the end, I decided that I actually still have a few things to say on the topic.

 

Have I ever been part of a “drive-through generosity” chain or something like it? If so, how did I react?

 

I’ve never been part of one actually. I’ve never had it happen to me, and even though I have thought about it, I have never done it for someone else. I feel like a bit of a hypocrite at the moment with how much I have talked about helping others and doing the right thing and then saying that I blatantly haven’t done this particular type of kind act.

 

Sometimes there are financial reasons behind my choice. There have been times where I shouldn’t have ben buying food for myself because money was so tight, much less trying to cover someone else. Other times I just don’t do it. I don’t have a reason other than because it’s my money. Because it feels lame, cheap, hollow. It feels thoughtless.

 

Being kind in a drive-through feels robotic to me, like I’m part of some sort of conveyer belt system, which doesn’t feel good, so I don’t do it. And I know that sounds like a horribly selfish answer, but that’s how I feel.

 

Yes. Most of the stuff I do I try to do behind the scenes. Like when I got the cards for Donna and Carol. I waited until after they had left for the day to put the cards in their “In” trays. I wanted them to get the cards when I wasn’t there so they wouldn’t have feelings of obligation. I didn’t want to stand around while they read my message of thanks.

 

I wanted them to know that while they are working, all alone behind their computer desks, that people still notice their hard work and still appreciated them. I didn’t want them to say thank you to me. That wasn’t the point of the card. It was to give them something physical, something they could look at on a rough day, and remember that it’s not pointless. People do appreciate them.

 

When I get a server who seems to be having a crap day I leave a small note on my receipt saying I hope things get better for them. I normally leave a better than average tip as well even if my service was shit. We’ve all had crap days, and as an introvert I couldn’t image what it would be like to be a server, trapped around tons of people, most of them probably ungrateful, with no way to escape and recover like I would need to. What if they’re having family issues? Relationship issues? Financial issues?

 

What if they’re stressing over how to put gas in the car so they can make it to work the next day? How is my stiffing them for “bad service” going to make their day any better? Maybe all they need is a reminder that it will be ok. That things work out.

 

When I was driving back home for Thanksgiving I had breakfast at a Waffle House. I felt bad about it. I even told my mom while I was on the phone with her before leaving the hotel how I didn’t like how I was going to be “one of those people”. I was going to be part of the reason those people weren’t at home with their own families, sleeping in under the warm covers.

 

I was so hungry though that I went anyway, and, as can be expected, my server wasn’t in the best of moods. I left her a $20 tip on a $10 meal. I let all of the people there know that I appreciated that they were open and that I hoped they were able to enjoy the rest of their day.

 

I’m noticing that a lot of my actions are money related, but not all of them are.

 

I put up shopping carts at the grocery store when people leave them out in the parking lot. It drives me crazy when people do that. How hard is it to walk it back up to the store, or put it in one of the little cart return spots? How lazy and inconsiderate can you be?

 

My faith in humanity may or may not hinge on shopping carts… >.>;

 

I may not go through the whole parking lot putting up all of the carts, but I’ve had people pull me away from the task after three or four, saying that someone else is paid to do that. Yeah, they are paid to do that, but you know what? They could do something more constructive with their time if people didn’t act like lazy children who can’t pick up after themselves. I’m pretty sure that was something taught to us before kindergarden. If you use it, put it back where it belongs. /end rage

 

I like to think that even if I can’t change the behavior and thoughtlessness of others that at least there three carts that someone isn’t having to mentally bitch about taking care of. It might not be a big deal. It might not even be noticeable. But I know that I did it. And it makes me feel like I have done something to help someone else.

 

Do I agree with Ms. Murphy’s idea that paying it forward is a response to all the bad things that happen in the world?

 

In a way yes. I think for some people it genuinely is an act of kindness. For other’s I think it is to be part of a trend. To have “bragging” rights, in a way. They were part of something “good” and they can tell their friends about it and their friends can think they’re awesome and kind and generous. I think for some people it’s more about praise than being kind and that bothers me. I don’t like the idea of being part of a trend and having that type of stigma applied to me. It’s not a good feeling.

 

Do I think it is effective? Why or why not?

As far as paying it forward in a drive through, I honestly can’t say. I’ve never been part of it, but I do think random acts of kindness are effective in helping to make the world better. I know how I feel when something kind is done for me, and it’s a good feeling. Making others feel good and worthwhile isn’t a bad thing in my book. If we want a more loving, compassionate world we need to put in the time and effort to make it so. The only thing evil needs in order to triumph is for good men to do nothing I believe is how the quote goes.

 

Why do I think generosity like this in drive-through lanes has been such a phenomenon, but hasn’t seemed to have happened in restaurants as much?

 

Oh, man. That’s a good question and one I actually hadn’t thought of.

 

I think drive-throughs are a lot like the Internet. It’s fast and anonymous. You’re a generosity ninja. There’s no real personal interaction, not even with the cashier. You’re gone before you know it. It’s also relatively cheap.

 

With restaurants you’re sitting at your table. You’re chatting with your server. There’s the chance that the people you pay for will find out and come thank you and then you’ll be trapped having to assure them that it was nothing. That there’s no need for them to do something in return.

 

I think paying in a restaurant is “riskier” and that’s why people don’t do it as much.

 

How can I pay it forward?

I think I do a pretty good job, though there is always room for improvement. I don’t think I will become part of the trend for paying it forward in drive-throughs, and while at first I felt bad about that, I no longer do.

 

I would rather raise money for Mellie and her family, who I’ll never see. I would rather put carts away, or pick up trash on the ground. I feel like those actions actually do something, and that makes me feel good. I want to feel like I make a difference, and without that feeling the actions feel hallow.

I may not do everything, but I do a lot of things, and I think that counts towards something.

kathy-giving-quote

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