The Kindness of a Stranger
There are many synonyms for the word compassionate in the thesaurus: charitable, humanitarian, kindhearted, all heart, warmhearted, and tender – just to name a few. In each of our days, we can all find seemingly small ways to be compassionate to our neighbors, and in those few minutes we can each have a great impact on the lives of others.
What a few minutes meant to me
My husband lost his wallet last weekend. He was headed to a work meeting, all dressed up and did not have any time to spare. He was half way to work when he realized he did not have his wallet with him, which is a stressful thing – especially when you work in a high security environment and need your work identification to get on-site to even park your car. So, he headed back home and got me out of bed. Did I mention it was early in the morning and it was Saturday?
As he raced through the house, the thought occurred to him that he may have set his wallet on the top of the car when he was hanging his suit jacket up in the back seat. So, he drove slowly through the neighborhood and called someone to meet him at the security gate to let him onto the work site. And I walked through the neighborhood slowly, with crazy hair–looking down into the gutters and flowerbeds.
When I returned home and stressed about the hassle of having to cancel all the credit cards and about my husband having to get new identification cards, a vehicle pulled up in front of the house and a woman started to walk up the sidewalk to my front door. As it was still before 8 a.m. on a Saturday morning, I thought who in the world could be soliciting this early?
My moment of irritation quickly turned to disbelief as I saw that she had something in her hand . . . a wallet. This stranger lives a mile away from us and walks by our neighborhood every day. She shared a story with me today about how she thought she was imagining things when she saw a five dollar bill blow by her this morning on her walk. But then she saw another, so she chased that one down. Then she saw several white pieces of paper flutter by and chased those down as well. She saw my husband’s wallet in the road, and proceeded to go into the road and collect all the pieces laying amiss and turned right around and headed back to her house.
I do believe my husband’s wallet was returned, intact with the exception of perhaps that first five dollar bill that escaped – in less than an hour from when he drove away and sent it on a flying escapade into the street. This stranger felt compelled to hurry and return the wallet because her husband had driven off and lost his wallet once, and she knew how stressful this could be for someone.
This kind act of compassion, just a few minutes out of a strangers day – was hugely impactful for my husband and I. It not only saved us a lot of time, but gave us so much peace of mind. This is what compassion accomplishes. This reminds me of how the smallest acts of kindness for others can mean so much, sometimes much more than you realize.
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