“A little thought and a little kindness are often worth more than a great deal of money.” – John Ruskin
As you may know, in my younger days I owned a convenience store chain. Years and years later, I received a letter from a man in Kanas City with a name I didn’t recognize. It began, “Dear Mr. Kitchens, you probably won’t remember me, but…”
He went on to explain that many years ago, he desperately needed to get back home, but didn’t have any money to pay for gas. He recalled that when he stopped at my gas station, I gave him a full tank of gas for free. The man wrote that, at the time, he was in dire straits, and the ability to get back home that day completely turned his life around. He told me that he now has three children and is the pastor of a large church. His letter stated that all these years later, he just wanted to say thank you for the impact that I had on his life.
After reading his letter, I barely remembered the guy and I definitely didn’t remember giving him the gas. But, to know that a simple act of kindness, totaling less than twenty dollars, made that much of an impact on his life is incredible to me.
Truly, that letter may be one of the best gifts I have ever received. It serves as a reminder that we’re all supposed to do more for each other. Instead of living comfortable, insulated lives, we all should be looking for opportunities to make a life-changing impact on someone with a simple act of kindness.
It is also a good reminder to thank the people who have done things like that for us. How many times have others given us a leg-up, but we never go back to tell them how much impact they had in our lives? I think most people have a hard time being thanked. It throws us off because it’s a little scary to realize the weight of our actions.
Today, I just wanted to pass along this story because it meant so much to me and I hope it encourages you to reflect on how you can impact others, who you can thank for little kindnesses in your life and heighten your awareness of the impact your actions—big and small—have on those around you.
Question: What act of kindness could you complete this week? Who can you write a note to in thanks for something they did for you?