Leigh Anne Tuohy for AARP: Be A Game Changer With One Kind Act

November 1st, 2011

By Leigh Anne Tuohy
November 1, 2011

Why do people help perfect strangers? Have you ever given that much thought? As I was driving down a very busy street in Memphis recently, my gas cap was open; can’t imagine how that happened, but I passed thousands of cars and after being miles from the gas station, a middle-aged woman honked her horn at me and rolled her window down and said, “Your gas cap is open.” I thought how many people have seen this and just chose to ignore it and not get involved

Several months ago, I was leaving the grocery store and my arms were full, my mind preoccupied and I was not paying attention to anything.  As I got to my car to begin the task of unloading, I dropped my purse. It was like “Let’s Make a Deal” in my purse! Stuff went everywhere. I started picking things up, looking under cars, and up walks this teenager who graciously started helping me. He was very reserved but obviously task oriented. What made this young man stop as others just walked by with a snicker on their face?

We live in a very busy world. The idea of helping a perfect stranger may just feel like one more thing we don’t have time to do. We live in an “it’s not our problem so let’s don’t get involved world.”  Why did these people choose to help me and others had no interest? Was it their faith, their family, their upbringing, their desire to better their community? Or maybe they hoped that one day a stranger would help them? They knew they were not going to receive anything for their effort, but yet they made a decision to help someone else. We have all been on the receiving end of this kindness at one time or another. It leaves one with a restored feeling in mankind even from the smallest act of kindness.

The truth is that random acts of kindness or doing random deeds for strangers are like a toxin in the water supply system. It affects us all! Our city, state and this country would be so much better off if we all looked out for each other. Not only is helping someone out the right thing to do; doesn’t it just make sense? We could have such an impact if we helped the youngest child to the oldest senior citizen and everyone in between.

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