There are two movements in this country that seem to be pushing the whole “Random act of kindness” philosophy, at least that I have had direct, personal experience with. Those that just go out and profess that we should occasionally do it and then do it themselves to lead by example, and if you follow suit, then great. Then there seem to be the ones that are militant about it.
Like any militant group, I see these people as bad examples of the parent group. There is nothing wrong with doing random acts of kindness, I think that it follows that whole “pay it forward” program, whereby helping one person, they will help another and another. I honestly believe that something a simple as smiling and saying hello to someone you do not know, might help their day. Unless you live in New York, then you will get mugged.
It amuses me when I hear people come out, and granted, they are not common, at tell others that they need to go out and practice random acts of kindness, and they should try and do “x” number a day or week.
If you set a goal, or quota, does that not make it so it is no longer random? Isn’t that like a loan officer taking up a policy of at least one loan a day, or a car sales person treating it as novel to make one deal a week?
The point of the whole random act thing is like what happened to me once. I was in the drive thru at a Starbucks. I had already placed my order and gotten to the window to pay, when the “Barista” advised me that the car ahead of me paid for mine and the person behind me. That did two things. First, it floored me, since it was my first time being a recipient of one of these acts, and second, it had me in the mode to do the same for another. Face it, when someone does something like that for you, it generally has a tendency to put you in a good mood, in some cases makes you want to return the favor.
Forcing or shaming a person into doing a good deed or act really accomplishes nothing. People are more apt to give generously if they are doing it anonymously or just because they see a sudden need, and have the means to do it. Personally I like to give “voyeuristically”. I like to see the reaction on the person’s face, but not let them know who it was that did it for them. I get to see the joy, and I get to know it was me that caused it, without the embarrassment of the person thanking me, or the awkwardness for them of thinking that they NEED to thank me.
So the title of this was a little misleading… no one has, to my knowledge as of this writing, been forced to preform a “RAoK” at gunpoint, but I do wonder if there will ever be a time when the whole Robin Hood mentality comes back around.
Imagine… you are standing in line at your favorite store, and you feel something in your back. A whisper comes to your ear… “See that woman at register 10, the one fumbling for exact change?
You nod your head.
“You are going to slip this here cashier a c-note and tell her to go over an pay for that woman’s groceries, right?” and he jabs the gun in your ribs.
“Sure…” You hand the woman the bill and give her the details, and she walks off. You turn around and your new friend is gone. About that time you hear the woman yell… “Hey Billy! Go get us another three twenty-four packs of Coors!!!”
Seriously though. If you have the means, sometime, pay for the guy or gal’s coffee in the car behind you, or something like that. I will not hold a gun to you, I will just make it a suggestion that you try. No pressure.