Random Acts of Kindness

I finally accepted a kind gesture from a stranger for a ride today. Here in Nosara, Costa Rica, there’s lots of sudden downpours, mud, and puddles… and it seems, if I am on my own or with the kids and these natural hazards occur, random people are more than happy to offer help. I’ve been turning down the help until this point. I turned down the kind man who offered to carry the kids surfboards back with me when I had to carry two at a time, and the kids had to lug the beach toys. I turned down the nice driver yesterday who offered to drive us out of the pouring rain when we were coming back from the beach and the sky opened up in torrential downpour.

And then I started questioning why I should say no. People sometimes are genuinely trying to be helpful, and these people offering help are clearly tourists coming and going from the beach or elsewhere and want to be able to help.

So, as I was walking to yoga this morning, which is a good 15 minute walk along a very muddy/puddle-filled path – one that has gotten progressively muddier and practically impassable as the rain has come in, a nice man on a quad began to drive by. I stopped to let him by, mostly because I didn’t want to get splashed as he drove through the puddles. Then he surprised me. Instead of slushing past and potentially spraying me with mud, he stopped. When he offered me a ride – which clearly would be useful since I was dealing with puddles that took up the entire width of the path – instead of my immediate response coming out as “no” like I usually would say when I am not expecting random kindness from a stranger, I heard myself say “sure” instead. I hopped onto the back of his quad and he drove me all the way along the path, and up to the yoga class I was headed to. He said he was headed to get a massage. When he dropped me off, I hopped off as easily as when I hopped on and said thank you, and he was off.

How nice to accept an act of kindness from someone else. To accept, that despite all our teachings about what to “worry about” or “watch out for,” that there is true genuine desire to help others and its ok to offer and accept it sometimes. And it’s not just the recipient of kindness that benefits from it, I bet the quad driver was happier having offered and helped someone out too.

Giving and accepting other people’s kindness helps lift our spirits and feel more connected the people around us. Have you ever noticed how strong you feel part of your community when there’s a major crises or natural disaster. People come together – help each other, and we all feel like we can move on and be ok because we have one another.

But, I challenge us all to think about how we can be better at saying yes when a stranger offers a kind gesture, and finding ways to pass on the kind gestures we receive. It makes the world a little brighter, and us all feel more connected.