Observations: Always put your best foot forward

by LISA CAPOBIANCO

Standing by the window in our TV room one Saturday morning over the summer, my father seemed as though he was waiting for something intently while looking at the driveway. After peeping out the window for a minute or two, he turned around with a sigh, mumbling under his breath, “I wonder when the mailman is going to come.” He then proceeded down the hall.
About an hour later, dad returned to the TV room again to look out the window.
“He’s here,” my dad said in excitement as he nearly dashed his way down the stairs and out the front door to approach the mailman.
“Why is he so excited to receive his mail,” I asked myself while observing dad.
Walking swiftly down our steep driveway with a smile on his face, dad greeted the mailman eagerly as he handed him a water bottle.
“Thank you,” the mailman said as the hot summer sun beamed on his head.
“You’re welcome—have a great day,” dad said as he clenched his hands around the small stack of bills and other miscellaneous mail.
What I witnessed that Saturday has continued to this day. Every Saturday when our mailman arrives, my family has ice cold water or soda ready for him to drink. It is not every day that residents reach out to their mail carrier, for he or she often gets overlooked as we wait incessantly for that special coupon or wedding invitation. As I reflect on the meaning of this holiday season, I realized that offering a stranger something to drink is a small act, yet it is an act so random and mundane that actually can make a difference in someone’s day. Random acts of kindness can be almost anything, anywhere.
As I arrived home from work one evening last week, I saw a beautiful Christmas wreath hanging from my front door that caught my eye.
“What is this,” I asked myself with a smile. Approaching the wreath with widened eyes, I looked for the gift card to see who it was from. It came courtesy of my uncle, who we don’t often see much anymore. This was the second or third year he has sent us a wreath, yet every time I see it hanging at my home, the decoration serves as a reminder that he is still looking out for us despite our busy schedules. It was a small act, yet the thought outsized the gift itself, which was very appreciated.
Random acts of kindness come in all shapes and sizes, tangible and intangible, offline, and even online. When I had a rough day last week, my mood was particularly low as I hesitated to check my Facebook page.
“Why should I even bother wasting my time checking it, when I know there are not going to be any new worthwhile notifications,” I asked myself.
Needless to say I was wrong. As my new notifications appeared in the upper right hand corner of my homepage, I saw a link that a dear friend of mine shared on my wall: a cute, orange-furred kitten doing a trick with a cardboard box. Some might say, “who cares, it’s just a kitten,” but when I watched the video, the biggest smile appeared on my face as this tingly feeling suddenly came over me, and any negative thoughts or worries I had disappeared. That same feeling remained for the rest of the evening, all because of a simple video someone shared with me online.
Random acts of kindness cannot only make someone else feel good, but they can also create a domino effect, as doing them can inspire others to also act kindly in random ways. Whether waving at the man who collects empty bottles on my street or reaching out to a friend whom could use some extra support, I myself discovered the impact that those random acts of kindness made on me. My hope this holiday season is for people to do one random act of kindness to counter every act of violence they see or hear about in their own community, especially this week as we remember those who lost their lives during the Newtown tragedy.
Lisa Capobianco is a staff writer for The Observer.

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