Thankful For The Kindness Of Strangers

“Show to me and the country where you now reside as a foreigner the same kindness I have shown to you.”    Genesis 21:23

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESMy son Zack joined the Lego Robotics Team for the first time this year. The competition was this past Saturday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Despite not knowing any of the other families involved, I went to support Zack and see what it was all about.

I knew I was in for a long day with people I’ve never met before. So I filled my backpack with all the busy work from my pile of things to do. While Zack hung out with his teammates, my plan was to sit in the bleachers during the downtime and get a lot of work done. Little did I know, I’d barely touch any of it.

I’ve never met such a great group of warm and welcoming people before! Every parent I came across was engaging, helpful, and kind. They helped me understand the format of the day, and how the judges scored. They encouraged me to ask as many questions as I liked, and never once made me feel stupid about being so clueless.

As I chatted on the sidelines with one teammate’s dad, I admitted just how naive I was. I told him I had emailed the coach to get her suggestions for the best Lego Robotic kit for Zack’s level. I thought I’d surprise Zack and get him a set for Christmas. When I clicked on the link she sent me, I almost fell over. Who knew Lego Robotic kits cost $350? I told the dad that, needless to say, Zack would not be getting that for Christmas.

In less than a second, he told me that his son had a set that he never used. They’d be happy to loan it to us for Zack to play with. I looked at him a bit stunned. I have never experienced a total stranger offering me the loan of anything that cost $350.

As I thanked him profusely and gave him my contact information, I secretly thought he’d never follow through. It was such an immense act of random kindness; it felt too good to be true. But sure enough, at 10:45 a.m. the next morning, his son was at our front door handing over the set to Zack.

It seems that all we hear is how selfish people are. There is a constant dirge of complaints about being disappointed, snubbed and short changed by others. That dirge is loud and deafening; it convinces us that the majority of people in the world are cruel and conniving. We start thinking that kindness and generosity are things of the past.

Then we experience a random act of kindness from a stranger, and our faith in humanity is restored. We realize that the majority of people are good, and they’re helping others all the time. Recognizing this inspires us to do the same.

On Thanksgiving, I’m usually grateful for my family and friends. This year, I’m adding the kindness of strangers to my gratitude list. It’s easy to be generous with those we love. But to expand our kingdom work, we need to follow this dad’s example and extend kindness to the strangers we meet.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Questions For Reflection:

     * What am I grateful for this Thanksgiving?

     * Have I ever experienced a random act of kindness from a stranger?

     * How did that make me feel?

     * What did it inspire in me?

I’d love to hear your responses in the comment section below. 🙂

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8 thoughts on “Thankful For The Kindness Of Strangers

  1. I am forever and always thankful for my husband and his kind, generous heart. It’s the thing I love most about him.

    We both try to practice random acts of kindness whenever we can. It takes little effort to make someone’s day a bit brighter.

    I’m also grateful that this gift was received by someone so appreciative. Thank you for your kind words and sharing how much this touched you. I heard Zack make it a point to tell our son how excited he was and thanked him several times. His politeness did not go unnoticed.

    Perhaps you, Zack, and anyone who reads this and is also touched by it, can find a way to pay it forward. 🙂


    • Yvonne, thank you SO much for commenting and for being part of the generosity. Your son is lucky to be raised by two such kind and giving people. I love your suggestion of paying things forward. That will further your ripple effect of good in this world. I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving!


  2. I am proud to be the grandmother of the boy who brought Zack the Lego kit. My grandchildren are both kind, generous, and loving adolescents whom I know will grow up to be the same as adults. I never fail to admire Ellen for ending her show every day with the wise words, “Be kind to one another.” It’s great to know my own family are!!


  3. I had to train a temporary worker at work on Wednesday. He was very appreciative to have the job, especially right before Christmas. In training him on his duties I mentioned that we had a great cafeteria in the plant and that they had good food at a good price. I told him I would take him down so he knew where it was. He said he only had $5 to spend. When we ordered I got to the register before him and told the cashier I had his too. It made his day. I knew he was short on cash. It made me feel good to make this man’s day over $4 . That was a well spent $4. It made my day that I made his day. That was $4 for 2 and I hope my kindness he will pay forward. I am sure that man who made your day had that same feeling ( and his son). A small gesture can spread out to so many people. Hope you had a great Thanksgiving Claire.


    • Paul, what a perfect example of spreading kindness! I also like your point that doing something for someone else has a positive effect on us. I love how kindness can multiply – it’s the best kind of math ever! I’m sure that not only did you make that guy’s day, but you made him feel so welcome and special so that he’s even more excited to have the opportunity to work at your company, and with you.


  4. Claire,What a wonderful story and what a wonderful family you were blessed to meet. I do believe there are more kind and generous people than not. To answer your question regarding kindness from a stranger–when about to pay for my coffee at Dunkin Donuts, was told that it had already been paid for by a stranger. This happened twice in the past three weeks. Needless to say, this inspires paying it forward. Kindness does have a ripple effect.
    Loved your story, Paul, but your kindness does not surprise me, the apple doesn’t fall far
    from the tree!!


    • I love that you’ve been the recipient of random acts of kindness at Dunkin’ Donuts, Mom. If there’s anyone who deserves it, it’s you! And I’m sure you’ve already paid it forward tens of times over!!!


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