Infect Others with Kindness


Sophia Khan

An elderly man holds the door open for a young woman.

Chiara MacGillivray

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An orbit of germs, fears, violence, lies, and hatred spirals around our world. The people, clutched in the chokehold of a chaotic pandemic, share a common distress. Time seems a blur. Exhausted after long days of coping with the challenges of returning to school and the progression back to normalcy, the only energy most people have left is used for flopping into bed.

Recently, I found myself as a drop sliding down a windowpane, drearily following this pattern of business and bustle. In dire need of a coffee and a pretzel to keep me energized, I crossed the Wawa parking lot. Somewhat oblivious to those around me, I looked up to reach for the door handle. Another hand got there first. As the door swung wide, making way for me to enter, a shabbily dressed elderly man greeted me with a smile and “How’s it going?” The kind action startled me. I paused for a moment, surprised, before returning the smile and greeting. Replaying the moment over in my head while in the store, I was intrigued to discover that this man did not follow behind me but remained on the outside looking in. Then I noticed him holding the door for every person that entered the Wawa.

As I thanked him on the way out and returned to my car, I couldn’t help smiling about the situation. His small act of kindness made me think about something more than myself and my busy life. It brought me joy, contentment, and peace, even if only for a few minutes. I can imagine that the other customers who experienced his kindness felt similarly.

 How much nicer would the world be if we all took a turn being the old man! The simple acts of saying hello, holding doors, smiling, having patience, and using polite words, such as please and thank you, could help ease the burden of someone’s daily life. Especially at a time like this when human interaction is sparse, it is very important to build bridges between souls with kind actions. Every moment that we share with another person is valuable, and we constantly have the choice to be a ray of sunshine or a gloomy cloud.

I hope, in the future, that it will not take a kind deed from someone else to make me aware of those around me. Instead of being startled when the door is held open for me, I want to be already looking for an opportunity to hold the door myself. If I try to engage other people and pour out myself for others, I am confident that I will feel more fulfilled.

As Nobel Peace Prize winner Mother Teresa said, “Let no one ever come to you without leaving better and happier.” If we all make an effort to infect others with kindness, we will be bringing peace and joy into the lives of those around us. This will temporarily cure the worries of life during a pandemic. COVID-19’s grip will not seem so tight or vicious if we step away from our own concerns and reach out in charity to others.

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