Wednesday, August 10, 2011

The Kindness of Strangers

Sometimes I find that inconsiderate behavior is often the norm rather than the exception when I am driving, in a crowd, and/or in other public areas. I often hold the door open for those in front or behind me; sometimes they say thank you or nothing at all. There are times when people hold doors open for me, and I always say thank you; formulating those two words is not a struggle for me, as it can be for others. Perhaps it was the way I was raised or just that I always make an effort to show gratitude to those who show me kindnesses, and to reciprocate whenever I can. I know that I can never take the kindness of strangers for granted. It always catches me off guard, and in a good way.

I was on line to see the Alexander McQueen exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York last week, and was convinced that I would not get a chance to get in to see it before the museum closed. I anticipated the worst when I saw a line that was almost a city block long in front of the building. I discovered another entrance and a shorter line that the museum employees had opened, and struck up a conversation with a man who had a museum pass from his company. I got into the building in less than ten minutes instead of the hour I was expecting to wait, and as I got ready to pay my admission fee on the next line I was on, the same man offered to use museum pass to get me in for free. I was really grateful to him, and he went his own way after I shook his hand and rushed to join my friend who was waiting for me on another line to see the exhibit. It was a kindness I made sure he knew I appreciated before we parted ways, never to see each other again.

Have you ever been surprised by the kindness of strangers?

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