Start a Ripple

Several years ago, I had moved to the city and I didn’t have a car. I took the bus to about a half a mile from where I worked and then crossed under an overpass to get there. One day, while crossing under an overpass, a homeless man stopped me. I expected him to ask for money and I was afraid I would have to turn him away because I didn’t have any. “Come here,” he said. I cautiously walked toward him. He invited me to sit on a crate next to him, and I did. He began telling me jokes and trying to bond with me. We laughed for half an hour. He offered me something to drink and I said no. Eventually I had to head to work, but this left an impression on me. If this man, who’s name I don’t remember, who had next to nothing, could be so kind and generous, what could more acts of kindness do?

Shortly after this encounter, I began volunteering with the homeless. I’m not sure who got more out of it, them or me! Every time I left there, I felt so encouraged and… good. Random acts of kindness are addicting. Once you help someone out, and see their face transform, you can’t help but want to do it again. But is kindness just about feeling good, or could it have a greater impact? In the book The Traveler’s Gift, the author highlights how, during major historical events, it was often one small act that altered someone’s path, changing the course of history. The book The Tipping Point also shows how a small decision or act can have a huge impact on an individual, an organization, or beyond.

So, how fast could random acts of kindness change the world, if we really put our heads to it? If one person begins by doing acts of kindness to two people, and those two people each pick two people of their own the next day, and this continues each day, it would take just over a month for random acts of kindness to reach every person in the entire world! That’s incredible! Imagine how such a ripple of kindness would affect all of us. Perhaps we would not be so suspicious of our neighbor. Perhaps we wouldn’t get into arguments so easily. And of course, each time you do something kind, it makes you want to do more kind things. Whether it is baking cookies for firefighters, leaving an encouraging note on someone’s windshield, or bringing coats to the homeless during the winter, your small act of kindness can create a ripple that you may never see. You can start this today, and I hope you do.

By Ryan Rogers - Austin, TX


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