Character DevelopmentJewish Ethics

How Small Can a Kindness Be?

People think that kindness has to be a major undertaking otherwise it’s not kindness. But this is not so. Kindness can be in a smile or small gesture that can make all the difference to the other person and took almost no effort on your part!

“Partners in kindness” is a website that people can post their kindnesses on. This gives them and others a focus on kindness and creates a ripple effect inspiring and sensitizing more and more people to be kind.

Here are two short stories of kindness that many don’t think of but anyone can do.

I often stay late enough in my office to see the cleaning people come and collect our trash.  I try at least to say hello and thank you. They usually seem almost surprised to be acknowledged. It's just a tiny kindness but they shouldn't feel invisible!

The other day, one of the cleaning crew saw me as I was about to leave and gave me a hearty “have a good night” and a big smile.
Thanks for your emails. They inspire me to try to do more kind things, even if very small.

Story 2
I do the same thing! I did not think of it as an act of kindness that I could share until I saw this. Perhaps I should have, though, because the cleaning crew I see also seemed surprised to be acknowledged at first. More people should do this.

I was in my booth at a trade show in Shanghai with my translator and a cleaning person emptied the trash can. I said a quick “xie xie” (shay shay, means thank you) to her. This resulted in a full conversation between my translator and the cleaning person.
After the cleaner left I asked what that was all about. She told me that in China the people like cleaners are treated as if they are invisible. I had broken a social norm. I told the interpreter that  the person had done a service for me and I was not ungrateful.
A thank you is such a small thing, it cost me nothing, and the cleaner is indeed a full person, worthy of my notice and gratitude. 


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Related Articles

Back to top button