Small acts of kindness

I was preparing a rant against dementia (I know it’s been done many times), but I decided to focus instead on the kindnesses of people I meet. My wife was diagnosed with early-onset dementia at 52. She is approaching or already in the late stages of the disease. Last week we flew, for probably the last time, to visit her family.

We flew Southwest and all of their employees that we interacted with were kind and considerate. They were patient and reassuring when it took several minutes to get her in or out of her seat. More than once I was asked if she needed a wheelchair (she walks fine, I just hold on to her so we don’t get separated in a crowd). Even TSA was considerate; she didn’t understand what they were asking her to do, but they were patient and got her through security successfully.

When we were at her sister’s house, her sister took her to get a haircut. My wife wouldn’t sit in the chair at first, so the hairdresser just worked around it by starting the haircut with her standing up. My sister-in-law’s husband is kind of gruff and anyone leaving lights on or not putting things away in the correct place really sets him off. But, when it comes to my wife, he becomes a teddy bear and has the patience of Job.

And last year, when my wife went to Six Flags for the last time, the woman from the restroom. At that time my wife could still use the toilet by herself, however, she wasn’t able to find her way out of the restroom. I was standing outside and a woman came out of the restroom, looked around and then walked up to me. She asked me if I was waiting on someone and if she was alright. I said she wasn’t, so she went back into the restroom and led my wife out to me.

I know that objectively, these are all little things. I even think that most people are decent human beings on an individual level. But, given the number of people in the news these days who can’t get over that low bar, I want to point out some of these nice people in the hopes it will help me get over the depression I feel some days when I read the news or Facebook.

Anyway, hopefully other people have stories of acts of kindness that will help restore my faith in humanity.

This absolutely, positively 100%-ily pales in comparison to what you just said but…

This past weekend Mrs. Cups and I did one of our many trips to Disney when I discovered my magic band was starting to rip. I didn’t think much of it because it’s 2 years old, gets a lot of use and I was probably going to replace it soon anyway. We got into one of the shops and I asked a question about the bands in general and upon making conversation with the worker I showed her my ripped band. She told me hold on a second and came out with a voucher for one free replacement.

I didn’t come in and demand something for free, I didn’t even really WANT a free one, I just showed the ripped band because it came up. But the girl saw the issue and knew the protocol enough to give me a free one. She could have easily ignored the issue with the band and just let me pay my 25 bucks, but didn’t. It was a pleasant surprise that put a smile on my face.

We definitely stopped by guest services afterward and made sure to tell them about it. I don’t exactly know how Disney does complements, but hopefully she gets a little somethin out of it

My Mum and Dad were married for 60 years.
Towards the end, my Mum was in a Hospice with terminal cancer and my Dad was in an adjacent Nursing Home (with many problems including Parkinson’s disease, macular degeneration and rheumatoid arthritis.)
The nurses in the home decided to carry my Dad in his bed through to the hospice.
I still well up when I remember my parents holding hands for the last time.

I think these are the small acts that often times get missed. I was in Target a couple of weeks ago buying the frozen lunch that my wife likes. They were rearranging their frozen food aisle and what I was looking for was nowhere to be found. One of the stockers asked what I was looking for and then went into the back and got it. Someone does their job and we take it for granted. But, if we slow down and appreciate it, it can make our day a little more cheerful and make up for some of the bad things.

Wow. What a beautiful story. Thank you.

Damn but it’s getting dusty in here.

Quite a while back my mum died suddenly and I became pretty depressed for the next few months. I got so accustomed to being in the fog of misery that I didn’t even try to get help or help myself. So I went into a local whole food shop to get some food and snacks for roleplaying. I ended up choosing a number of (healthy treats). I don’t remember exactly what the young woman at the counter said to me, it was something about it being good to treat yourself when you were having a bad day. She was genuinely caring and I appreciated that she had noticed how unhappy I was. I walked out of there into the nice spring day and realised that the fog had lifted. Just a bit of unexpected kindness can indeed go such a long way.

I am so sorry to hear about your wife. That is way too young for anyone to suffer from dementia.

I applaud you for your conscious decision to focus on positive things rather than the negative ones. That’s not so easy, and the world needs a whole lot more of that.

Steve McQwark, I’m very sorry about your wife, too. That has got to be tough.

My kindness story: a dear friend died about two months ago. He had been in a motorized wheelchair for the last two years. At the hospice facility where he died (after being there for a month), they have kept his wheelchair in a corner of one of the parlors just so I can go periodically and sit in it. I had sat in the wheelchair many times in his apartment when he was lying in bed or in his recliner. The hospice people have been very kind to me. I go over there about once or twice a week and sit in the wheelchair for a while and feel close to him and miss him. Sometimes someone comes and we visit and talk about him or other things. Sometimes I’m on my own. It may sound strange, but sitting in the wheelchair is a great comfort to me. They said they’ll keep it there as long as I want them to just for me. Eventually we’ll donate it to someone, but right now it means a lot to have a specific place to go.

My 13 year old is on the autism spectrum, and she receives a lot of small acts of kindness on practically a daily basis. One I vividly remember was trying to shop for 3-4 really needed items in Target, she was in the shopping cart seat having a meltdown and fighting to get out, and I was trying to keep her in the seat and calm her down. A fellow shopper simply grabbed the front of the cart to hold it steady for about 2 minutes, and after my daughter got settled simply asked “can I help you with anything else?”

Yes. +1.

Today I was in line to check in at the doctor’s office. There was a frail, elderly woman ahead of me with a younger person, presumably her daughter. The daughter was wearing a headscarf, appeared to be coping with the aftereffects of chemotherapy. Neither looked well.

There was an older man ahead of them in the line. When the next check-in person became available, he turned and quietly invited the two women to go before him. They sure seemed grateful. After they went forward, I thanked him for his thoughtful act of kindness.

It’s the littlest things, but they really matter.

This happened a long time ago, but I’ve never forgotten it.

I was in London, going for a walk. A fellow brushed past me, said “sorry”, and I wandered on. He came up to me again and said “sorry” and I said not to worry about it (thinking he was a bit weird). He then looked down at his hand in which he was holding a paintbrush and said he thought it had brushed it against the sleeve of my (new) coat. He then said he would go to fetch a solvent that would remove it and that I should wait for him. “That’s the last I’ll see of him” I thought in my cynical way but I hung around. Sure enough, back he came and removed the smear.

I’ll never forget that painter and how he went out of his way to fix something that he was responsible for, when so many seem to go out of their way to avoid responsibility and blame others. I had no idea that the contact had involved paint and would have been none the wiser if he’d carried on his way.

Whenever I’m feeling like everybody is awful, I remember that guy and remember that there are decent people in this world.

All of these big and small acts are reminders that the horrible people we hear about are the minority; if they were the norm, they wouldn’t make the news. The fact that these kindnesses go unreported on proves that the decent people are the majority. So, thank you to everyone for sharing their stories.

Dude… 100% respect for what you are dealing with…

My wish for you is that you find another kind soul that can help you to help your soulmate.

PLEASE take a personal day for yourself, when you find the correct person to give you a day off…

your wife sounds like a very wonderful person…as do you.

My kindest thoughts are following your way.

Peace and Love…music helps too.


Just want to say, what a GREAT thread.

And yes, I seem to have something in my eye…'scuse me while I go fix it.

I am very moved that you choose to focus on the good even though you’ve surely had more than your share of bitter and painful experiences because of this terrible illness. I am sorry that you are dealing with this, and I hope you continue to find good people along the way to help make it easier to bear.
Thanks for reminding all of us that there is a lot of good in the world even at the worst of times. Your post reminds me of something I read about from Fred Rogers:

This thread is balm for the soul… yes, there are still good people, people who care and show it, people who think of others besides themselves. It’s easy to lose sight of that these days.

There are no small acts of kindness. They are all the same size.

I was on the bus last week and suddenly the driver stopped. We waited a minute or more for no apparent reason - I was beginning to wonder if something had gone wrong. Then I saw what the driver had seen - a mother and child behind us, rushing for the bus. (It was pretty ineffective rushing, because the child was disabled somehow.) They got on, thanked the driver sincerely, and the driver acknowledged the thanks and then continued as if nothing had happened. Small in my day, but might have been big in theirs.

I’ve occasionally been left behind running and flapping my arms, even by bus drivers who were leaving early, so I’m glad that particular driver was there on that day.


And this.