Small things make a difference

I had a happy experience that is worth sharing. Our houseguest needed a ride to the airport and I clicked on UBER. When the driver arrived, I asked if he wanted a cup of coffee or the use of a bathroom. I often do this because I think it must be challenging to spend long periods in a car – and I make a good cup of coffee!

The driver’s initial reaction was defensive. He said. “Why?” I responded that our house is in a residential area, he had a long drive to the airport and I thought he might need either a bathroom or a cup of coffee. Would he prefer water? I began to walk away, wondering if I had inadvertently offended him.

He called to me and said, “What I really want is to wash my face and pray.” I said sure.

One member of my family took him into our home and showed him the bathroom. Another settled him in a quiet place to pray. Another showed him out when he was finished. It all took less than five minutes.

The reason I am sharing this is that it was such a small thing – but this is what it meant to him:

From our friend who was driven to the airport.

“My Uber driver (Minhaj from Sri Lanka) was quite over-whelmed by your gesture of allowing him into the house to pray, and said more than once during my trip (to the airport) that it was the best thing that had happened to him during the two years he’s been in the US. After dropping me off, he wrote me a very touching and long text in which he asked that his sentiments be sent to EVERYONE at the house.”

From Minhaj in a text to our friend.

“Thank you so much to let me to pray inside of the house and this was never happened in my life before. So this day was a unforgettable day for me . You guys are sooooo nice on me and treated me well. Sir (our friend) we had a good conversation for that thank you very much.
I’m so lucky to meet you guys and I’m willing to meet your family again and again in my life.😍😍
Thank you sooooo much 😊😊
Please show this message to every single person at your home 😘😘”

It has made me more aware of all the small exchanges I have with people every day. I wanted to share it because I live near New York and the sheer density of our area makes it tempting to ‘tune out’ the people around me to maintain some peace. I am going to try harder to have positive interactions with the people around me – even the small things. Random acts of kindness!

Random Acts of Kindness

See the ASE article on Random Acts of Kindness

See the ASE article on The Humans of New York

Watch an excellent commencement address called “Failures of Kindness” by George Saunders.