1. Anna says...

    While my daughter (who was at the time, maybe 18 months) was screaming at Trader Joes, a sweet man approached me and simply said “you’re doing a great job”. It was so lovely and thoughtful, and refreshing compared to the comments people often make about rambunctious little ones. I still think of him often, and she’s 3 now!

  2. Sasha L says...

    This post just made my day. We all have the capacity to show a little extra kindness now and then, it truly matters.

    Here’s mine: I was hiking once, in July, mosquitos were just awful but I had good bug spray and was having a lovely hike. On my way down, I met a dad and three kids, all frantically swatting themselves silly. Poor Dad had forgotten bug spray and what should have been such a fun time was reduced to misery. I pulled mine out of my pack and offered it, and he very quickly started spraying, and I said “oh no, just keep it. You might need to reapply at the lake and I’m almost back to the trailhead”. I swear he had tears he was so relieved.

    And, my baby daughter was just a day old and my husband ran out to our local co-op health food store to pick up groceries. You had to pay for membership, they let you pay as you go, and I think we’d paid about $5 of $75. When he went through check out the clerk asked if he like to pay and he sheepishly admitted he didn’t have enough that day (we were so broke). Clerk said no worries. After he left the person behind him in line paid the whole thing, bless them. I went in the next week with an extra $5 to pay on membership and it was the same clerk and she explained. I cried like a baby.

  3. Deana says...

    Re: seeing people how they want to be seen: I remember reading in one of Robert Fulghum’s books about the time he supervised a group of kids playing a game where each child was designated either a wizard or a fairy. But one little girl refused to participate, saying that she was a mermaid. Mr. Fulghum replied, “Then you can stand here with me, the King of the Sea.” Perfect.

    • Em says...

      Oh, I love this so much. Thank you for sharing :)

  4. The last panel reminds me of my time doing preschool research. I got to see, again and again, that one of the best things that adults can do in conversation with small children is to avoid the urge to tell something isn’t real or accurate. If they tell you that they flew to daycare, instead of saying, “No, Daddy drove you in the car,” ask them, “Really? Did you have wings or were you on an airplane?” Because the kid already knows that Daddy drove them to daycare. What they want (and need) from the exchange is to share a moment of joyful imagination — something that we, as adults, really need too!

    (Plus, you can never learn to have a conversation if the person you’re talking to just corrects you all the time.)

    • agnes says...

      I love your comment! joyful imagination! there is nothing else.

  5. Stacy says...

    Last August I was crouching in the school supplies section, counting out 70 notebooks at Target–I like to get the $.25 notebooks so each student as the same one–and I felt someone watching me. Then I heard a barely whispering cracking voice of a teenage boy say into a handheld intercom: “This is Brent on aisle 17. I think I see a teacher buying school supplies. Would we be able to offer her the teacher discount that ended last week? …Okay, copy.” He then approached me as I was tossing packets of index cards into my cart to tell me about the teacher discount that I had missed. He waited for me to grab a few more items, and escorted me to the front of the store, noting that his mom was a teacher so he wanted me to get the best possible deal, and he personally rang me up, saving me 20% on the whole purchase. What an act of kindness!

    • Lori says...

      Speaking of Target… This morning while waiting for my Starbucks order I noticed Target staff plus the baristas welcome warmly an older woman who was either homeless and/or had some challenges. I’ve noticed her often at this Target hanging out for long periods of time. The Target manager paid for her drink casually and with joy. The barista even knew her “drink”. It was truly touching to see this whole sense of community that they’ve created. I’m off to email their corporate office…and do better myself in these situations.

    • Sasha L says...

      Stacy and Lori, omg, these stories are amazing. Thank you so much for sharing. Can barely see through my tears

  6. Marlena says...

    My heart hurts for parents who are out and about with screaming kids, so I try to smile and let them know I’m on their side whenever I can. I used to be that mom and once, during an especially heinous episode with my son at the store, an older woman came up and just silently offered a dumdum lollipop to him. No questions asked. Then she squeezed my arm, gave me a smile, and walked on.

    Today, I’m sure many people would think she should have asked if I would be ok with candy for my toddler, but I was so thankful for ANY help at that point, she could have handed him an entire chocolate cake and it would have been fine. She is forever an angel in my book and I plan on being that person to others any time I can.

  7. Holly says...

    Ugh I love “Smiling at someone whose baby is screaming.” I tend to do this a lot because I can sense that mom or dad’s fear that everyone in that moment hates them. I’m 25 with no kids but one day I’ll be that mom with that screaming baby and all I’ll want is a smile from a stranger saying “It’s okay”. <3

    • Once, before I had kids of my own, I was on a plane with someone whose very small baby was crying. When we landed, they were apologizing for the noise, and the woman in the seat across from them just said very simply, “We were all screaming babies once.” It was such a generous moment that it really stuck with me — and now I say it to parents with kids crying in public too!

  8. Andrea says...

    Cats would like nothing better than to kill and eat fairies, IMO.

    • agnes says...

      ah ahah! you know!

    • Colleen S says...

      Mine would just play with it. They don’t kill, they just alert you by batting it around.

    • Azure says...

      The whole point is that a cat princess fairy makes no sense; you are being kind by just going with it.

    • Andrea says...

      Azure, yes I know. It’s just the thought that cats could be whimsical fairies is funny. They are apex predators and would love attacking the other fairies.

  9. Mouse says...

    Yes, kindness is everything. Especially be kind to service industry people: look at them like they are human beings. Most service industry jobs are pretty thankless and to so many people they are invisible.

    • Sarz says...

      Thank you Mouse! My fellow service industry employees and I are frequently dehumanized, but that just makes the good customers seem all the more special. 😊

  10. Ramona says...

    I have actually performed all of those specific random acts of kindness! Everyone has their own challenges and sometimes a simple act may just put a bounce in their step or a smile in their hearts. I’ve also been blessed to receive some random acts of kindness so I’m a true believer of what you put out there just may return to you! ❤️

  11. Sarah says...

    Especially at Aldi…that quarter can go a long way!

  12. Kelli says...

    Oh my goodness, “seeing people the way they want to be seen.” I’ve never thought about this before, but what a HUGE kindness! That tugs my heart strings :)

  13. agnes says...

    I love LOVE these acts of kindness. I love doing them and helping in these small ways. I’m sure it’s not totally healthy, I probably want to be loved desperately but I just love making someone who is a little tired, or bored, smile. (after your post on acts of kindness, I secretly paid for coffee for a very older friend, he’s 70; it made his day when he guessed and mine! can’t wait to do it again!!). Signed: a cat fairy.