Recently, during the painful hours of waiting in traffic, I witnessed a simple act of kindness that had such a profound impact on me. It brought me to tears. It was a bright morning accompanied with high level of humidity. I was observing a municipality cleaner, who was doing his morning chores. Tears of sweat glistened on his face, nevertheless he continued working. I had finished sympathizing with him and got distracted by the green light of the signal just when the guy in the car in front of me pulled his window down, called the cleaner and gave him some cash, probably as a token of appreciation. The middle-aged man nodded his head and pocketed the cash happily and thanked the guy in the car. I was so moved to see the gesture. The emotion was followed by some sort of guilt as to why I was not so thoughtful in doing the same. Being born as humans, aren’t qualities of of compassion and care inherent in us? Isn’t that what sets us apart from other living beings on the planet? Yes, we are aware of millions dying every year in Africa due to lack of adequate resources such as basic food and clean water. We watch the news, read blogs, discuss world issues over dinner daily and shake our heads in disapproval but how many of us really take that 1% of pure, selfless effort to contribute to the neglected parts of the society? We might be part of charity associations and donating some bucks (whose worth, to be honest, might not be more than a dinner at a fancy restaurant) to a cause now and then, but do we ever interact with these people on a personal basis? Do we make them feel important and wanted?
The moment from the morning replayed in my mind throughout the day and I knew then how it is to feel inspired by someone. The unknown guy in the car truly motivated me to be more thoughtful about such people who labor throughout the day so that we can reap the benefits of a cleaner and healthier environment. It is not enough to be just sympathetic. Such small actions of kindness really have the power to fill their day with a whole lot of happiness. Truly, appreciation counts.