Every day we walk down the street passing by hundreds of strangers; people we don’t know, people we may never officially meet. Each person we pass is a world within their own; each carrying around with them their own struggles, their own troubles, their own stories.

However, today a random stranger crossing another’s path stepped out of his own world for a moment to do something kind for someone he never met and will most likely never run into again. I would like to attempt to show you how the act of kindness looked like from his view point, the viewpoint of the giver, and then show you the impact it truly had from the viewpoint of the receiver. I think you will learn that there is no such thing as a small act of kindness; although the act may be simple to perform the effect it has is much greater than we could ever imagine.

Here it goes: The viewpoint of the giver:

Parking slip of kindness

A man needs to run an errand in the city. After some time of circling, looking for parking he finds a spot; deposits money in the muni-meter and places his ticket on the windshield. The errand took him much less time than expected and so when he returns to his car the ticket still has an additional 30 minutes remaining. He has places to go, things to do, people to see.


He pulls out of his spot and notices a car pulling into a spot across the street. He makes his way towards the car, gets out of his car and hands the woman parking the car his parking slip and says, “This ticket still has about 30 minutes on it; I thought you’d like to have it.” She graciously thanks him, they smile at each other, he heads back to his car and drives away.

Amazing! Such a simple thing, which took no more than 30-40 seconds and somehow two people, two strangers walk away feeling great. But the story isn’t over, not nearly.

The gentleman most likely got back into his car feeling a sense of happiness for doing something unexpectedly kind for a stranger. Little does he know the true story of the receiver and what she was going through on that very day.

The viewpoint of the receiver:

September 2011: Lets take you back a couple of months

A woman with a stable job for the past seven years decides to take a leave of absence, take a leap of faith and pursue a dream – a dream of making the world a better place, a dream of inspiring the masses through kindness. She decides to start a non-profit organization geared towards spreading kindness and goodwill as well as empowering children through the idea of giving. With no income coming in on a regular basis and her money quickly depleting to build up the non-profit organization, she decides to begin tutoring whenever possible to help bring in funding.

October 12th, 2011: After tutoring the woman leaves one house to get on her way to her next tutoring appointment. Unfortunately, she doesn’t make it there. A block before arriving at her destination a car rams into her car from behind as she’s waiting by a red light. Luckily she has no bumps or bruises but with terrible pain in her back, neck, and head she is rushed to the emergency room.

What comes next is very unexpected. Known for her bubbly and enthusiastic personality, zest for life, and one to always be on the go, something happened to her on that day. It seemed as though her world came crashing down on her. Those personality traits that are her trademarks seemed to be mysteriously missing and she was transported to a state of mental cloudiness.

Things were tough before the accident, trying to keep her dream for the organization alive all on her own, but now they were altogether impossible. She was home bound for almost two weeks and she began to feel as though her dream was slipping away. The pain in her neck and back prevented her from getting any work done, from spreading her message to the world. As she began reflecting back on her life, which we all do after traumatic experiences, she felt as though she was a failure; one of the most crippling feelings. Suddenly she began questioning everything. She began to feel that every time she was finally on track in life, something would come along to push her down. She believed so much in what she was doing, but her state of mind allowed all of the negative and cynic remarks of others began to pour right in. “What are you doing?” “This organization isn’t going to get you anywhere.” “Why were you crazy enough to quit your job! How do you expect to make a living?” “You won’t be able to do it.” She began wondering if she in fact would really fail, after all she was the only person working on the organization and it hadn’t moved anywhere yet.

October 24th – Her first day out of the house, she headed with her mother to the doctor in the city to assess the pain she has been feeling as a result of the accident. After many long appointments, her mother hoped to lift her spirits and try and get her out of the funk she had obviously fallen in to. Her mother needed to run an errand in Bloomingdales. With her cousins wedding less than a month away, finding a dress became priority and her mother thought it would be a good opportunity to see what they could find. Her mother let herself out in front of the store and asked her daughter to park the car. We all know what parking is like in the city – close to impossible. She began circling. While doing so she scanned the faces of the hundreds of people in the street wondering how she ever thought it could be possible to really make a difference in the world – who is she after all.

Finally she found a spot and began to park. Suddenly a man emerges from a car, hands her a parking slip and says, “This ticket still has about 30 minutes on it; I thought you’d like to have it.” She thanked him profusely, they smiled and the man got back into his car and drove away. But at that moment that man didn’t simply give her a parking slip, he gave her reason to believe once again. After parking, she looked at the slip, a tear rolled down her cheek and she smiled. “This too shall pass,” she whispered to herself.

If a small gesture made such an impact on her, she knew her organization would indeed succeed in its mission. Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but with continued effort she would succeed. Yes, there will be bumps along the road, but she finally realized that those bumps only assured her that what she was doing was indeed important. Kindness does in fact keep the world afloat.

As she took her next steps down the block, she looked into the eyes of the strangers passing by her in rapid movement and realized that they aren’t just strangers, they are pieces of her puzzle of life. She began to wonder what life had in store for her. Maybe she would one day have an effect on one of their lives just as the “parking slip man” had on hers.

I’m that woman and I can tell you that you never know why we cross paths with certain people. But one thing is for certain; if you put kindness out into the world it will most definitely have a ripple effect beyond imagination. There is no such thing as a “small act of kindness”, the effort may be minimal but its effect is far from “small”. So keep your eyes peeled as you take your next steps down the road of life, increase your awareness and you’ll see myriads of opportunities to bring a little joy, a little happiness, and a whole lotta kindness into the world.