In his latest Billboard hit single “Humble and Kind,” Tim McGraw inspires us to pause and remember the golden rule for being good humans. “Hold the door, say please, say thank you, don’t steal, don’t cheat, and don’t lie…always stay humble and kind.” It seems simple enough, but somehow when life starts coming at us sideways, it’s easy to let our egos rule the day and forget basic good manners.
I was intrigued this week to stumble on the huge bus in the photo parked alongside me at the Nantucket Police Station. The message was clearly conveyed on the side of the bus – “Kindness is Free.” The bus driver told me they started a one year “movement” on July 1 to spread random acts of kindness throughout the country…with the intention to donate any funds raised to various non-profit organizations and charities. Their travel journey brought them to Nantucket and they are literally picking up people as they go along who share their heart to change the world…one random act of kindness at a time. They are expecting nothing in return.
It seemed a little too good to be true, but sure enough I researched them and this is for real. They are in the early stages of their one-year effort and are tracking their journey on Twitter and Instagram with the hashtags #kindness365 and #payitforward. It seems bizarre and serendipitous that their journey began to spread random acts of kindness on the exact same week that our nation is experiencing some of the worst random acts of violence it’s ever seen. These two young men with a vision to change the world are to be commended and Nantucket is lucky to have been one of their first stops. It’s made me wonder what would happen if those of us who live and work here embraced their vision and continued to carry the torch of goodwill on our island while they spread their random acts of kindness across the country.
Even while the multitude of organizations on Nantucket and the members who serve them work tirelessly to host fundraisers and raise awareness this summer, the rest of us can contribute to the island and its residents and visitors in smaller, but no less significant ways. We can offer directions to tourists who can’t figure out where Sconset is. Perhaps help a tired mom with little ones and a cart heaping with groceries unload the bags into her car. Maybe stop along one of the crowded narrow streets and offer a ride to the ferry to the couple with a multitude of suitcases and no idea how to navigate the cobblestones.
Some days it’s even simpler than that. A warm smile to every stranger we encounter. A gesture for the other cars to go first through the rotary or a simple compliment on someone’s attire. Kindness really is free and paying it forward actually costs us nothing. In these uncertain days of anger and unrest across our nation, we might not be able to make a difference to the whole country, but we can certainly be a bright light to many on Nantucket. Tim McGraw sums it up this way, “When you get where you’re goin, don’t forget to turn back around and help the next one in line.”
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