This post is part of Think Kit by SmallBox.
January 25, 2016 prompt: “Good Deeds: Explore a good deed – yours, or one from someone else. How is the world better for it?”
Not a Good Deed.
When I read this prompt I was reminded that a good deed doesn’t have to be huge or wide sweeping to have a huge effect. It doesn't even have to be a true good deed...
I attended Junior High School (7th-9th grade back in the mid-70s), when we dressed out for physical education class in uniforms. If you didn’t dress out, you had to sit on the bleachers with nothing to occupy your time. I forgot my uniform one day and had to sit out. I was in luck though, because a new kid in school didn’t have a uniform yet. I did something I rarely do because I tend to be shy and reserved—at least until I get to know you, then I’m loud and obnoxious. There is no middle ground in my world. My action? The simple act of getting up and moving to where she sat, introducing myself, and being interested enough to ask a couple of questions. I was just killing time. Besides, I always like to know where other people had been stationed—we were both Air Force Brats.
Robin and I talked for just a couple of minutes before the teacher split us up. I never thought anything of it. Robin went on to become a popular girl and I didn’t. Our paths never crossed again. Until the last day of school.
I boarded the exceedingly rowdy school bus, students and Bus Driver one and all ready to start our summer vacation. Robin got up from the seat she was sitting in and dodged a few people to come and talk to me. Until that day I didn’t even realize she was on my bus route.
Robin said, “You’re the girl from PE that talked to me my first day, when we sat on the bleachers—aren’t you?” I said I was and she said, “Thank you.” I was puzzled and she went on to explain. “I was new and very shy. Because you said hi and took an interest in me, I opened up and said hi to other people. At my last school I was very shy and never had any friends. Because you were nice to me, I’ve made a ton of friends at this school.”
I was floored. I hadn’t done anything special. I know what it’s like to be the new kid in school, the odd man out, the fifth wheel. All I did was say hello and ask a few questions, and try to make her feel a little less awkward. And that was it—nothing big or spectacular. But she made it sound like I had saved her life.
W hadn't. But it made me realize, we never know what someone else is facing. We never know what our small kindness—in this case, a simple hello, and taking interest in someone else—can mean to someone. Just a word of encouragement, a small amount of spare change, stopping to change a flat tire—whatever the small act to us, can mean the world to the recipient. It could be the difference between having a just getting by day, or a survival day, or a fantastic day.
My simple act wasn’t really even really a good deed. But it made all the difference to Robin, and her telling me how much it affected her, made an impact on me.