Kindness is a defining trait of humanity. It is a virtue that sets us apart and makes us human. Despite the fast-paced nature of our world, where people often lack time for each other, kindness remains an important asset.
It is impossible to know the full impact of our kindness, but it has the potential to change lives. An example of this is a homeless man named Chris who was saved from ending his life because a woman showed him kindness by buying him a bagel and coffee and sitting with him.
Sometimes a listening ear is all that is needed to make a difference. It may seem small to you, but for someone else, it can be incredibly significant. This is what happened with Chris, who wrote a powerful message to a woman who had taken the time to listen to him. On a small piece of paper, he wrote "I wanted to kill myself today. Because of you, I now do not. Thank you, beautiful person."
This message became viral in 2016 when it was shared on the "Love What Matters" Facebook page, and it received nearly 700,000 likes. The message also sparked a conversation among people who shared how kindness had helped them during difficult times in their lives.
For Chris, this small act of kindness was a turning point in his life, it made him believe in himself and in the value of life. For Casey Fischer, the woman who bought him the bagel and coffee, it was just a small gesture of kindness that cost her nothing. It was a combination of fate and circumstance that led her to Dunkin Donuts on that day and that brought Chris into her path.
Kindness Doesn't Cost A Thing- So Be Kind And Move On
Fischer was on her way to the cafe when she saw Chris, a homeless man, sitting by the road, collecting loose change. She later recounted, "I saw him walk into Dunkin' Donuts, and as he was counting his change to buy something, I started talking to him repeatedly even though he didn't really want to talk. Since he had about $1 in change, I bought him a coffee and bagel and asked him to sit down with me."
Through her persistence, Chris eventually opened up about his life, sharing that people were often cruel to him because he was homeless, and all he wanted was to "be someone his mom would be proud of." He also revealed his struggles with substance abuse, the loss of his mother to cancer, and not knowing his father. Casey described Chris as "one of the most honest and sincere people" she had ever met.
After spending over an hour with Chris, Casey had to leave for class. As they said their goodbyes, Chris asked her to wait and wrote something down for her on a crumpled receipt. He apologized for his shaky handwriting, smiled, and left. The note, which Casey would likely treasure for the rest of her life, was the one expressing his gratitude and appreciation for her kindness.
Kindness Is Not As Rare As It Seems
After this story of kindness was shared on the Facebook page, many others shared their own experiences. For example, one user, Gary Edelmann Jr, wrote:
"I am homeless, have been since last year, I was staying under a 275 overpass for 2 weeks. I am now in a program at the Salvation Army and I am doing better now. Just got a job today and start tomorrow so my life is looking better each day. I am not proud of how I ended up here but I am getting myself out of it by the grace of God. Just asking to pray for the homeless and be kind."
Another person, Jo Goldstein, shared:
"I left an abusive situation and for almost 3 years I was homeless and without my two kids, I got a job, my own place, and got my kids back. I am now a single mom of 4 and I may be struggling but I am doing okay and I keep going forward."
Sometimes All One Needs Is A Kind Gaze And A Few Words
Casey's story of kindness inspired fellow Facebook user, Lauri Alexander, to share her own story of kindness.
"A few years ago, I was in line at our local post office and behind me in line was an obviously homeless man. He was dirty and obviously hadn't bathed, combed his hair, or changed clothes in who knows how long. The others in line stood back several feet from him and had a distinct look of disgust on their faces. I hadn't even noticed him until the woman behind the counter had looked up, saw him and her facial expression grew angry and she rolled her eyes. It was then that I had turned to see what or who had spoiled her day."
"I asked him how he was doing today, and mentioned it was a beautiful day to be outside." Later, when she was about to get in her car, the same man approached her and offered to help her. She was surprised when instead of asking for money, the man simply thanked her for talking to him nicely and went on his way.
It is easy to believe that kindness comes at no cost, so why not make it a habit?