Three hundred and four

Secret and not-so secret good deeds to strangers

Last year I was in a store in the States buying something and the man in front of me needed around $10 to complete payment for his layaway (it was a child’s toy).  He couldn’t get money out of the ATM and the cashier was trying to be patient, but the line was getting longer and longer.  I offered to pay the $10 he needed.  He got really angry at me, told me that he would never accept it and stormed off to find his wife to see if she had the $10 he needed.  The clerk processed my payment while he was gone, and I left the $5 extra for the man with the cashier.  He obviously needed the money and it was for his child.  It was $10.  But I’m sure he probably got really mad when he found out what I did.  I’m not sure if I should have left it, as I knew his position, but I did anyways.  I know it is a pride issue, but no one else had to know.

A lot of people hate to ask for help and some won’t accept help (or a ‘hand-out’ as some people call it) even if they need it.  However, communities for hundreds of years have helped each other out and worked as a communal group to survive and thrive.  As I said in my “science of good deeds” post, communities evolve by helping each other.  Those with more should help out those with less.

Unfortunately we live in a world where the richer get richer and the poor get poorer in a lot of circumstances.  Also unfortunately, there are those that take advantage of the kindness of others, which often makes people cynical over doing good deeds themselves, or won’t accept the help for fear of being grouped in with these people.

Tonight and tomorrow my plan is to find good deeds I can do for strangers and see how they react.  Who can I buy a coffee for?  Can I give up my seat on the streetcar?  Open a door for mom and her stroller?  Hopefully the world and particularly the city of Toronto is not a corrupted as I’m letting my mind runaway with and think it is.  Hopefully there are more good, giving, gracious people out there than there are selfish, greedy ones.