|Photo of "Be Kind" written in chalk.|
It happens thousands of times every day. Police officers extend countless acts of kindness.
They buy coats for homeless people in winter.
They buy Christmas presents for disadvantaged kids who otherwise would have nothing on Christmas Day.
One New York City police officer was "caught" buying boots for a homeless man who had no shoes.
Enter the search term in Google, "police buy homeless man lunch" and more than 18 million entries show up.
What do most of these stories have in common? They rarely get told. These acts of kindness aren't "news" to mainstream media.
Yet, every now and then these acts of kindness get noticed - and a tiny number get celebrated.
A few days ago Elizabeth McClain and her friend Patti Walker were on lunch break when they noticed a deputy sheriff sharing lunch with a homeless man.
Deputy William Haley's Act of Kindness
Deputy William Haley of the Madison County, Tennessee Sheriff's office saw a homeless man beside an onramp to Interstate 40. Deputy Haley drove to the nearest McDonald's and purchased two cheeseburgers and other food. He took it back to the homeless man and gave him the food.
But he did more. He prayed with the man and joined him for the meal.
As Deputy Haley said in an interview,
"That's something I do if I see someone in need and I'm able to help."
Picture of Kindness
Here, Elizabeth and her friend enter the picture. Literally.
They take a photograph of Deputy Haley eating and talking with the homeless man and post it on Facebook.
And it goes viral...
As the photo and description spread, some in the news media decided there was a story to be told.
In one interview, Haley said,
“It would’ve been OK for me to give him some food and driven off, but how long do you think it had been since someone sat down with him, shook his hand, prayed over a meal with him and asked him how he was doing?"
And so his act of kindness is being recognized by thousands of people.
Why Being Kind Matters
Engaging in random acts of kindness matters. It matters to those who are helped and it matters to those who offer those acts to others.
First, when we help others we are tapping into our core sense of love and connection as we affirm we care about - and for - others for no reason other than it's who we truly are.
Second, it feels good to be kind. It creates a sense of warmth because we choose to help someone else.
Third, it's the right thing to do.
Spiritually, we know that truth. But in our hectic day-to-day lives we're so absorbed in problems and activities that our faint voice of spirit is too often lost in daily noise.
Will You Be Celebrated for Random Acts of Kindness?
Will You Be Recognized Like Deputy Haley?
Probably not. Does it matter? I hope not.
In this polarized world, I hope you find it in your heart to make kindness a priority.
For me, Deputy Haley's story is a reminder I can do more...
And I plan on doing more everyday to make our world a better place one kind act at a time.